On 6 November, Christopher Oliquino, 38, and a resident of Antipolo City was able to walk again, thanks to a new above-knee prosthesis.
A former wire saw operator at a quarrying site in Teresa, Rizal, Oliquino figured in an industrial accident in January 2012, when the cable of the wire saw he was using suddenly snapped. He sustained a grave injury, receiving an above-the-knee amputation.
Because it was work-related, the Employees Compensation Commission granted him above-knee prosthesis worth P65,500.
Ronnel Miguel Tolentino, 26 years old, and a resident of Malabon City could not thank the ECC enough after he was able to continue working with a new leg.
An amputee, he was granted by the ECC above-knee prosthesis worth P62,000 sometime this year, which enabled him to move around again.
Oliquino and Tolentino are two of the 21 workers who sustained work-related disabilities the ECC has granted P1,437,500-worth of artificial prosthesis in 2013 to facilitate their integration into the economic mainstream.
In a report to Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz, ECC Executive Director Stella Banawis said the agency made the grant of the benefits under its Katulong at Gabay sa Manggagawang may Kapansanan (KaGabay) Program.
“We are pleased to report that the ECC’s KaGabay Program was able to make 21 workers with work-related disabilities happy and able to re-integrate themselves in the economic mainstream. Through the benefits of modern prosthesis, the likes of Oliquino and Tolentino were able to work and become productive again,” said Banawis in her report.
The ECC’s KaGabay Program is an economic assistance program for persons with work-related disabilities. Its objectives are to facilitate integration of the persons with work-related disabilities into the economic mainstream through physical restoration and training for re-employment or entrepreneurship in order to provide them with equal access to livelihood opportunities and micro-enterprises or home-based business.
“The ECC’s KaGaBay program is a friend to occupationally-disabled workers, or ODWs. It helps them find productive careers that will enhance their quality of life and restore them to their highest level of functioning,” Baldoz said in describing the program that demonstrates the Philippines’s strong commitment on the protection of ODWs.
The Kagabay Program also provides ODWs access to skills training for possible re-employment and entrepreneurship training for small or home-based business.
“ODWs should not be a loss to society. They can be mainstreamed into regular employment and productive activities if properly re-trained or re-skilled to perform specific tasks given their particular disabilities. This is the objective of this program—the re-skilling of ODWs and their placement in new jobs,” Baldoz said.
“The ECC is an effective agency that unlocks the potential of our ODWs. Through the KaGaBay Program, our ODWs will be at par with the rest if they are given a fair chance to start new lives and make use of their abilities to the fullest,” she added.
Banawis says one of the goals of the ECC in 2014 is to reach out to more ODWs who can avail of its programs and services. This, she believes, can be achieved by increasing ODWs’ awareness of and understanding about the ECC’s employees’ compensation programs.