DOLE’s communications office aids injured worker, facilitates speedy settlement of claim through SEnA
On 12 February 2015, Alexander Abarico, a machinist at Cemex Philippines, was involved in a workplace accident. He lost three fingers of his right hand. He was brought to the hospital where he was operated on.
Abarico is an employee of D.O. 18-A-registered contractor, Service Resources, Inc. (SRI) The company was immediately was immediately informed of the accident, but later, Abarico claimed his employer failed to provide him any assistance while he was hospitalised.
Abarico, who was working with Cemex for two years, claimed that his manpower agency refused to provide him with the needed assistance while he was hospitalized.
“Ang sa akin lamang po ay maibigay ‘yung tamang halaga ng separation pay ayon sa taon na aking ipinaglingkod at base sa nakasaad sa batas,” Abarico said during his appearance at the Labor Communications Office, right after he sought the help of media personality Raffy Tulfo of TV5’s T3 program, who referred the case to Labor Communications Director Nicon F. Fameronag on air on 26 February 2015.
“Please send him to the DOLE to file a request for assistance,” Fameronag said to Mr. Tulfo during their on-air interaction.
On 27 February 2015, Mr. Abarico, together with his wife and a T3 staff, visited the Labor Communications Office, where he narrated to Fameronag his predicament. Cherrie Cruz, SRI operations manager, also joined Mr. Abarico.
Right there and then, the DOLE communications director asked a staff, Celeste Maring, to accompany the Abaricos and Ms. Cruz to the National Conciliation and Mediation Board-National Capital Region—which holds office of the ground floor of the DOLE Building in Intramuros—for a conference under the Single Entry Approach (SEnA) mechanism. He also instructed Ms. Maring to refer Abarico to the Employees Compensation Commission so he can claim employees compensation benefits for his injury.
At the SEnA conference, Ms. Cruz was very cooperative and opted for a settlement right there. Abarico received P55,600.81 in separation pay and for other benefits. SRI also shouldered Abarico’s hospitalization fee amounting to P25,000. Cruz further informed Abarico that SRI’s insurance company will reimburse the medical bills and prescriptions.
Feeling vindicated, Abarico profusely thanked the Tulfo brothers and the DOLE for the speedy action on his request for assistance.
Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, who received a report of the speedy settlement, commended the LCO for its speedy facilitation of a request for assistance (RFA) under the SENA.
“The LCO has been providing advice to distraught workers referred to it by the media and other government agencies, aside from delivering news and information to our media-partners. In this case, its speedy referral of Mr. Abarico to the NCMB made sure the injured machinist receive necessary and appropriate assistance,” said Baldoz.
She also praised the SEnA, the reform she initiated as an alternative dispute settlement mechanism that compliments existing mechanisms and processes in DOLE offices to settle unresolved issues or complaints arising from employer-employee relations.
“The SEnA is a 30-day dispute settlement mechanism that mandates the use conciliation-mediation to avoid costly litigation. It is fair, inexpensive, accessible, and fast, the hallmark of effective and inclusive labor justice,” she said.
To make the SEnA more accessible, the DOLE has set up hundreds of single entry approach desks in all its offices in Manila and in the regions. One who has a complaint can simply approach a SEA desk where a trained desk officer will attend to complaints.