ECC processes more than 8,000 applications for cash assistance

The Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) said it has already processed more than half of the 8,000 plus applications it has received for cash assistance.

ECC Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis explained that although they suspended last September the applications for cash assistance, they continued processing all the applications they received.

"We continued to process all applications we received numbering 8,000 plus. So far, we already processed more than 4,000 of this," she said in a virtual forum on Friday.

"Many also were unable to comply with the documentary requirements for it to be processed," Banawis added.

"We informed them to complete it (the requirements) so they can apply again in 2021," she said.

The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) on Thursday said a number of workers are still waiting to receive their compensation benefits as the ECC has stopped releasing benefits due to lack of available funds.

But Banawis said they suspended the application for EC cash assistance applied at their office because of lack of funds but continued to process all applications received and are still releasing checks until now.

"Just like some other agencies, our 2020 operating budget did not anticipate the pandemic. Our budget for the cash assistance was for the usual number of applications and did not include work related COVID-19," she said.

"For 2021, since we have a new budget we are ready to open again for cash assistance," added Banawis.

She also clarified that the ECC continues to provide sickness, medical, death and funeral benefits to employees.

"The benefits under the EC program are many...and we also have this cash assistance which we have been doing for the past years and expanded it due to the pandemic. We included those who contracted COVID because of work or the working environment," said Banawis.

ECC is an attached agency of the Department of Labor and Employment which provides a package of benefits for public and private sector employees and their dependents for work-related sickness, injury, disability or death.