A senior postal officer was granted EC disability benefits after his retinal detachment, an eye condition that affects vision, had been deemed work-connected by the Court of Appeals.
The postal officer started working at the Philippine Postal Corporation in 1984 and was appointed to a supervisory position in 2004. In 2015, he suffered blindness and underwent a major operation for mature cataract and retinal detachment.
He filed for EC disability benefits for his retinal detachment at the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). The GSIS denied the claim for lack of proof that the nature of supervisory work increased the risk for retinal detachment.
The postal officer filed a motion for reconsideration at GSIS, asserting that his condition was caused by lifting heavy bags of mail and parcels, which was still part of his duties even after assuming a supervisory position. However, the same was denied by GSIS.
On appeal to the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC), the Commission affirmed the denial of his EC disability benefits due to the lack of proof of work-connection.
Unfazed by the previous denials, the postal officer elevated his case to the Court of Appeals.
The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the postal officer. In granting the petition for review, the appellate court considered the functions of the postal officer such as physical exertion and heavy occupational lifting as risk factors to his condition. According to the Court of Appeals, there are published medical studies that considered physical exertion and heavy occupational lifting as risk factors in contracting retinal detachment.
It also echoed the pronouncement of the Supreme Court in EC cases that what P.D. 626 requires is a reasonable work-connection and not a direct causal connection.
Thus, the Court of Appeals granted the postal officer’s claim and directed the GSIS to pay him appropriate benefits under the P.D. 626, as amended.
J. Romasanta – REU4A