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Occupational illnesses under the POEA seafarer’s contract

By: ATTY. DENNIS GORECHO May 07,2018 - 09:05 PM


The rule is that a seafarer’s right to disability benefits is a matter governed by law, contract and medical findings.

In situations where the seafarer seeks to claim under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC), the seafarer is required to prove that: (1) he suffered an illness; (2) he suffered this illness during the term of his employment contract; (3) he complied with the procedures prescribed under Section 20-B; (4) his illness is one of the enumerated occupational disease or that his illness or injury is otherwise work-related; and (5) he complied with the four conditions enumerated under Section 32-A for an occupational disease or a disputably-presumed work-related disease to be compensable.

The POEA-SEC reveals the serious and grave nature of the injuries, diseases and/or illnesses contemplated therein, which are clearly specified and identified.

It defines work-related injury and work related illness as any sickness resulting to disability or death as a result of one of the twenty-four (24) occupational diseases listed under Section 32-A of the said contract with the conditions set therein satisfied. Among these illnesses are:

1. Cancer of the epithelial lining of the bladder. (Papilloma of the bladder)

2. Cancer, epithellomatous or ulceration of the skin or of the corneal surface of the eye due to tar, pitch, bitumen, mineral oil or paraffin, or compound product or residue of these substances.

3. Deafness

4. Decompression sickness (a) Caissons disease (b) Aeroembolism

5. Dermatitis due to irritants and sensitizers

6. Infection

7. Ionizing radiation disease, inflammation, ulceration or malignant disease of skin or subcutaneous tissues of the bones or leukemia.

8. Poisoning and its sequelae caused by certain chemicals

9. Vascular disturbance in the upper extremities

10. Vascular disturbance in the lower extremities – varicocoele causing pain, varicose veins resulting in discoloration and ulceration.

11.Cardiovascular events to include heart attack, chest pain (angina), heart failure or sudden death.

12. Cerebro-Vascular events

13. End organ damage resulting from uncontrolled hypertension

14. Cataract and pterygium

15. Poisoning by cadmium.

The POEA-SEC cannot be presumed to contain all the possible injuries that render a seafarer unfit for further sea duties in view of Section 20 (B) (4) of the POEA-SEC which states that “(t)hose illnesses not listed in Section 32 of this Contract are disputably presumed as work-related.”

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