NCMB facilitates P13 M in benefits for 4 seafarers

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis Baldoz yesterday said there is an increasing number of money claims involving Filipino seafarers that are being settled through conciliation-mediation by the National Conciliation and Mediation Board.

Citing a report from NCMB Executive Director Reynaldo R. Ubaldo, Baldoz said that in July 2014, four seafarers received a total of P13 million in disability benefits, illness allowances, medical, and other fees, following the settlement of their claims.

She said the four seafarers sought the intervention of the NCMB on their separate complaints against Philippine Transmarine Carrier, Bouvet Shipping Management Corporation, Sealanes Marine Services, Inc., and Magsaysay Maritime Corporation.

One of the four seafarers is Alfredo D. Abdon, who was hired as fitter (pipe liner) on 18 February 2013 by Philippine Transmarine Carrier. He was repatriated to the Philippines on 6 May 2013 because of a bulging disc.

As fitter, Abdon was in charge of putting together or installing machinery, engine parts, and other equipment. While performing his duties, he met an accident resulting to the disease that caused his disability.

A bulging disc is commonly referred to as a slipped disc, or a protruding disc, in which the muscles are stretched or torn. It can occur in the lower back, upper and mid-back, or neck.
On 15 April 2014, Abdon, assisted by Atty. Joseph T. Entero, filed with the RCMB-NCR a notice to arbitrate, claiming entitlement to full disability benefits.

On 4 July 2014, after a series of conciliation –mediation meetings, the parties mutually agreed to the payment of P2,558,100 (US$ 60,000) representing the full and complete settlement of Abdons’ claim. Conciliator-mediator Ma. Yolanda P. Minoria facilitated the settlement.

Also, on 11 June 2014, Joseph A. Cuares, an ordinary seaman employed by Magsaysay Maritime Corporation, filed a notice to arbitrate with the RCMB-NCR, claiming illness allowance, medical reimbursement, and disability benefits as per CBA, attorney’s fees, and other damages.

Cuares sustained an injury while on board an international vessel as an ordinary seaman that made him unfit to continue his seafaring. He was repatriated in August 2013 due to a bulging disc and was immediately confined for treatment.

On 22 July 2014, the parties agreed to P3,957,927.15 (US$ 93,154.00) as full settlement of Cuares’s complaint against his former employer. They were assisted by
Director Edgar G. Aquino.

Meanwhile, Ernesto Ignacio, a second assistant engineer employed by Bouvet Shipping Management Corporation was awarded P3,618,960 (US$ 85,000) as settlement package following the resolution of his complaint against his former employer. Ignacio suffered lumbago in November 2012 resulting to his repatriation.

Ignacio sought the intervention of the RCMB-NCR on 25 March 2014 by filing a notice to arbitrate, claiming disability benefits, damages and attorney’s fees. On 15 July 2014, after a series of conciliation-mediation conferences, the parties mutually agreed to the full settlement of Ignacio’s claims. Conciliator-Mediator Estelita S. Bautista facilitated the settlement.
The fourth case involved Ramon Ruga, who was hired as third assistant engineer of Sealanes Marine Services Inc. Ruga suffered segmental fractures in his left forearm while on duty and was declared unfit to work resulting to his repatriation and hospital confinement in the Philippines last 3 July 2013.

On 28 March 2014, Ruga, with the assistance of Atty. Frederick Linsangan filed a notice to arbitrate with RCMB-NCR, claiming full disability, compensation benefits, medical/sickness allowance expenses, damages and attorney’s fees.

After RCMB-NCR Director Edgar G. Aquino conducted the conciliation and mediation conferences, the parties agreed to settle on 22 July 2014 in the amount of P 3,399,040 (US$ 80,000.00) as full and complete settlement of Ruga’s claims.

Secretary Baldoz commended the RCMB –NCR for its focused and pro-active effort in facilitating the settlement of these disputes.

“This means that more seafarers are opting for NCMB’s alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures, such as conciliation and mediation, in settling their claims for CBA benefits,” Baldoz said, noting that ADR mechanisms provided them with speedy, fair, and amicable option instead of resorting to long, expensive and litigious means in the settlement of their money claims.

END/Diadema Aguirre

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