October 3, 2015 started like any other day for Mr. Virgilio Tagra. However, as he was performing several electric repair works near one of the hospitals in Maasin City, in a sudden twist of fate, he came into contact with a live wire that resulted to his electrocution.
The incident caused him the amputation of his left arm and left leg which severely affected his working capacity and, as a result, adversely unhinged the finances of his family.
Like Mr. Tagra, Mr. Herbert Madredejo has been working for the same electric company for several years as a groundman when he was likewise electrocuted in January of 2008. This resulted to several burns in his skull, left leg and even to the amputation of his right arm. Although Mr. Madredejo has been able to go back to work, he admits that his finances is not as stable as before.
Meanwhile Mr. Roland Samaco was working as a Thirdmate on board a ship of the Elburg Ship Management Philippines Incorporated when he suffered from a dog bite during the launching of the life raft drill. Since then, he has been repatriated and has been unable to find any form of employment due to his injuries.
Since the establishment of the Employees’ Compensation Commission Regional Extension Units, the staff of the commission has actively reached out to Persons with Work-Related Disabilities (PWRD) for the implementation of the Katulong at Gabay sa Manggawang may Kapansanan or the KaGabay.
Under this program, PWRDs with approved Employees’ Compensation Program claim may avail of free rehabilitations services including physical therapy, occupational therapy or free assistive devices. On top of this, beneficiaries may also opt to avail of free trainings for re-employment or entrepreneurship.
Mr. Madredejo, Mr Tagra and Mr. Samaco already have approved Employees’ Compensation Program claims. Therefore, they have become eligible for the benefits under the KaGabay Program.
To fully equip them with the necessary tools and skills when it comes to entrepreneurship, the Employees’ Compensation Commission, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, the three PWRDs underwent a Small Business Management Training at the Maasin City Negosyo Center. Through this training, they were apprised of the different techniques and methods to fully manage a business enterprise.
On January 26, 2017, during the conduct of the Employees’ Compensation Program Advocacy Seminar in Maasin City, the Employees’ Compensation Commission in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment Regional Office Eight, together with the representatives from the Social Security System and the Department of Trade and Industry, released the livelihood starter kits worth Ten Thousand Pesos to Mr. Tagra, Mr. Madredejo and Mr. Samaco. Each of these beneficiaries received several sacks of rice and animal feeds for a start-up agri-business in their chosen locations. This is on top of loss of income benefits, medical benefits and all other benefits that they have received from the Employees’ Compensation Program.
“The Employees’ Compensation Commission has always pursued the reintegration of our Persons With Work Related Disabilities to the economic mainstream. We have established several programs to fully assist these workers on their way to recovery and the KaGabay has been specifically established to meet this end.” Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis said. “ At the end of the day, despite their disabilities, we all want them to live meaningful and productive lives.”, Banawis added.