With the aim of facilitating the integration of persons with work-related disabilities (PWRDs) into the economic mainstream, the Employees’ Compensation Commission Regional Extension Unit No. 9 (ECC REU 9) has partnered with its regional counterpart in the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in launching its own brand of Start Your Own Business, or SYOBE last 12 May 2015.

“The objective of the program is to ensure that the PWRDs who have plans of establishing their own business are well-prepared,” ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis said.

Participated in by ten PWRDs and their relatives, the activity was held at the Conference Room of the Department of Agriculture with its Assistant Regional Director Peter Andalahao welcoming the participants.

“With the initiative of the Employees’ Compensation Commission, we can say that the government is really working hard to address the needs of the people,” DA Asst. Regional Director Andalahao said.

DOLE Regional Office No. 9 Assistant Director Yahya Centi, meanwhile, shared a brief but very inspirational message focusing on the importance of attitude, perseverance, and dedication to work in order for one to succeed. He further added that assistance from government may be provided, but its real benefit will only be felt if the worker-beneficiaries commit to its implementation and sustain the livelihood undertaking.
A brief orientation on Meat Processing was conducted by DA’s Annabelle Madrazo as part of the activity.

In 2014, a total of 183 PWRDs were sponsored by the ECC’s Katulong at Gabay ng Manggagawang May Kapansanan in various vocational training courses and business orientation seminars with its various program partners in the National Capital Region and in the regions around the country. They acquired skills in various courses such as soapmaking, bookkeeping, hog raising, meat processing, basic automotive mechanic, breadmaking and bakery operation, welding, electrical installation and maintenance, basic electronics, food processing, cakes and pastries, among others.

The KaGabay is a special economic assistance program for PWRDs who have lost employment by reason of work-related sickness or injury. It provides PWRDs access to physical and occupational therapies, skills training for possible re-employment, and entrepreneurship training for small, or home-based business.

The KaGabay program complements the Employees’ Compensation Program (ECP) which provides a package of benefits and services for public and private sector employees and their dependents in the event of work-related contingencies such as sickness, injury, disability, or death.

“We put a bigger emphasis on promoting safety in the workplace as prevention is always better than compensation and rehabilitation. Prevention of workplace accidents and diseases should be of utmost concern as the health and safety of our workers is our primary consideration,” ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis.
With reports from Cerna I. Ahmad, ECC REU 9 Information Officer II