Labor groups in the Philippines this week called on the government to prescribe the coronavirus disease as a “compensable disease” and allow workers afflicted by COVID-19 full access to income loss benefit and other package of services.
In a letter, the Associated Labor Unions and the Building and Woodworkers International asked the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) “to take the right action” in helping members who are afflicted by the disease to have full access to the employees’ compensation program.
The ECC is a government agency mandated by law to provide various services and compensation package to public and private employees and their dependents in the event of work-related illness, injury or death provided they are members of the Government Service Insurance System and the Social Security System.
The labor groups made the call on the eve of the observance of International Workers Memorial Day on April 28 in remembrance for workers who died or killed, injured, disabled and sickened while performing their work.
“More than a year into the declaration of the national state of emergency … thousands of ECC members in private and public sectors have succumbed to the fury of COVID-19 following their exposure to the virus at the workplace,” said Gerard Seno, executive vice president of the Associated Labor Unions.
He said they are issuing the appeal “hoping that those workers who were ravaged by COVID-19 and those frontline workers who sacrificed their lives for us to live are not forgotten.”
The ECC has identified 32 occupational and work-related diseases that were determined compensable under their compensation program, including malaria, two types of cancer, pneumonia, hernia, asthma, work connected infections, tuberculossis, asbestos-related diseases, peptic ulcer, among others.