The grant of financial assistance to employees’ compensation pensioners demonstrates President Durterte’s compassion to the vulnerable sectors, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said on Tuesday.

Bello said the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) has set aside about P600 million to roll out the aid package meant to benefit around 31,000 pensioners consisting of both private and public sector workers. The labor chief chairs the ECC.

The President on Monday signed Administrative Order No. 39 directing the grant of a one-time financial assistance of P20,000 to all employees’ compensation pensioners upon the recommendation of the ECC.

“This is great news for all EC pensioners who are further thrown into deep financial hardships made worse by the Covid pandemic. This attests to the President’s soft spot for the poor and the vulnerable,” Bello said.

The one-time financial assistance will be granted to all EC pensioners for permanent partial disability (PPD), permanent total disability (PTD), and survivorship through ECC’s implementing agencies, Social Security System (SSS) for the private sector, and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for the public sector, once the implementing rules and regulations has been issued.

According to ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis, all qualified pensioners need not apply to the GSIS or SSS, as it will be automatically granted to them in the same manner as their pension was processed.

Aside from the one-time financial assistance, ECC also issued strong policy responses geared towards a better Employees’ Compensation (EC) Program implementation despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. This include extending the payment deadline for remittance of EC contributions and expediting the processing of claims of workers for diseases acquired in the line of duty during pandemics and outbreaks.

ECC also moved for the granting of three-month advance EC pension, interruption of the Prescriptive Period for the Filing of Employees’ Compensation (EC) Claims during Pandemic, Epidemic or Public Health Emergency and Other Fortuitous Events, and the Granting of EC Funeral Benefit to the Qualified Beneficiaries of Covered Members Who Died of Work-Related Causes Despite the Absence of Proof of Expenses for Funeral Services.

The DOLE-attached agency also issued the Policy on Compensability of Disability or Death due to Injuries Sustained by Employees in the Public and Private Sectors While in the Performance of their Duties or Assigned Tasks in their Residences or Dwelling Places, and Granting of Compensation under P.D. no. 626, as Amended, to all Covered-Members and/or their Qualified Beneficiaries in the Event of Disability or Death Due to Inoculation under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11525 (COVID-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021).

Banawis also assured the public that the ECC will continue to look for ways to further make the program more relevant and responsive.

“Despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission continues to live out its mandate of providing an appropriate and responsive package of benefits to all Filipino workers who suffer work-related contingencies,” Banawis said.

The ECC is a government corporation attached to the Department of Labor and Employment for policy coordination and guidance. It was created by Presidential Decree No. 626, as amended and as embodied in Title II of Book IV of the Labor Code of the Philippines. The ECC is mandated to provide meaningful and appropriate compensation to workers and their dependents in the event of work-related contingencies such as sickness, injury, disability, or death.

Source: Department of Labor and Employment
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