Govt rolls out P600-M aid package for employment compensation pensioners

THE Employees Compensation Commission (ECC), an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE), has rolled out a P600 million aid package for 31,000 pensioners from both the private and public sector.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd, who is also chairman of the ECC, said the package is 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.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed Administrative Order 39 directing the grant of said cash assistance to all employees compensation pensioners upon the recommendation of the ECC.

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 have 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, the 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 includes 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.

The ECC also moved for the granting of three-month advance EC pension, interruption of the prescriptive period for the filing of employees’ compensation 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 from work-related causes despite the absence of proof of Expenses for funeral services.

The ECC 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 Presidential Decree 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 (RA) 11525 or the 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 DoLE for policy coordination and guidance. It was created by Presidential Decree 626, as amended and as embodied in Title 2 of Book 4 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.