The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, requested the national and regional offices of the Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) to study the possibility of including barangay officials who contracted the dreaded Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) as beneficiaries covered under the agency’s compensation packages.
In a resolution, local legislators stated that the important and essential role of barangay officials in the ongoing tough fight against the deadly virus deserves reciprocation by the government as an expression of appreciation and a mechanism to further motivate and inspire them to serve well their constituents as previous news updates show that many barangay officials and workers had been infected with the virus during the course of their duty but no clear benefits which they are entitled to receive from the government are evident despite their commitment to the government to serve.
The council underscored that being infected with the virus does not only result to physical destruction or isolation but also cause mental and emotional distress as it impacts the whole being of those patients.
Further, the council claimed that the pandemic brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak had drastically impacted the whole country and its massive effect on economic growth has been very evident similar to its impact to the sectors of health, education, transport, agriculture, trade, tourism, labor force employment among others.
According to the body, barangay officials had been deluged with voluminous tasks, especially during the prevalence of the pandemic, from quarantine implementation, health protocol imposition to the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) beneficiary profiling and assistance distribution to report submission apart from their already established regular tasks and obligations.
The council pointed out that their expanded service roles during the pandemic placed them as daily frontliners directly exposing them to the COVID-19 with the danger of contracting the virus and transmitting the same to the members of their families and the community they serve.
The ECC is a government agency and corporation attached to the labor department that is mandated to provide meaningful and appropriate compensation to workers in the event of work-related contingencies.
Moreover, ECC sets the prevailing guidelines on who are qualified and covered under the EC benefit packages that covers workers from the private sector and those government employees such as private sector workers who are compulsory members of the Social Security System (SSS) and sea-based Oversees Filipino workers, government sector workers who are members of the Stat-owned Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), including members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), government officials who are receiving regular salary and all casual, emergency, temporary and substitutes of contractual employees.
The council stipulated that the inclusion of barangay officials and workers in the agency’s compensation packages will definitely serve as inspiration and motivation for these to sustain their hard work and dedication to public service.
By Dexter A. See