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Sunday, August 5, 2012

3 Pinoy seafarers get P9M disability benefits

Three Filipino seafarers repatriated after being injured at work recently received their disability claims totaling P9 million, the Department of Labor and Employment said.

National Conciliation and Mediation Board Executive Director Reynaldo Ubaldo said the three sought NCMB intervention for their complaints against their respective companies.

"The cases... are just three of the 112 notice to arbitrate (NTA) cases involving 381 workers lodged with the NCMB since January 2012. The successful resolution of NTA cases resulted in the facilitation of P34.7 million in monetary benefits for eight workers," the Department of Labor and Employmentsaid.

Ubaldo said the shipping companies involved – Sea Power Shipping Enterprises Inc., KGJS Fleet Management, and North Sea Marine Service – agreed to full and complete settlement of the claims of the complainants.

The complainants are to get disability benefits, illness allowances, reimbursement of medical expenses, attorney’s fees and other fees after the conciliation-mediation proceedings.

The first case involved seaman Alexander Billones, who was hired as a bosun on September 22, 2010 by KGJS Fleet Management Manila, Inc.

He was repatriated to the Philippines on April 27, 2011 because of chronic degenerative disc disease – one of the most common causes of low back pain and loss of function of the spine.

As boatswain, Billones was in charge of rigging, anchors, and cables. He also served as a deck crew.

But he figured in an accident resulting in the disease that caused his disability.

Last December 8, Billones assisted by lawyer Christopher Rey Valmores, filed with the NCMB-National Capital Region (NCR) a notice to arbitrate, claiming entitlement to full disability benefits, illness allowances, and reimbursement of medical expenses and attorney’s fees.

After conciliation-mediation meetings, the parties mutually agreed last May 20 to the payment of US$75,000 or P3,206,250 representing the full settlement of Billones’ claim. Conciliator-mediator Gil Caragayan facilitated the settlement.

In the second case, Nestor Balbaboco Jr., an ordinary seaman employed by North Sea Marine Service Corporation was awarded P2,215,720 after the resolution of his complaint against his former employer.

Balbaboco suffered a spinal injury in October 2010 while on board M/V Albatros, resulting in his repatriation and hospital confinement.

Last May 24, he and his former employer mutually agreed to the payment of P2,215,720 as full settlement of all Balbabocos’ claims. NCMB-NCR Chief Leo Ma. Delia Yu facilitated the settlement.

The third case involved Joel Floralde, an able-bodied seaman for the M/V EFSTATHIOS of Sea Power Shipping, Inc.

He was repatriated when he suffered a mild stroke after a heavy and physically strenuous training. He has become disabled and is no longer fit to work.

Last January 5, Floralde, with the assistance of Valmores, sought the intervention of NCMB-NCR by filing a notice to arbitrate, claiming entitlement to disability benefits, sickness allowance and medical reimbursement as per CBA, refund of attorney’s fees and other damages.

The parties involved agreed to settle on June 22, with Sea Power Shipping Enterprises, Inc. agreeing on the amount of P3,636,600 as settlement.

DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz commended the NCMB conciliator-mediators for their efforts. — LBG, GMA News

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