Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center, where the Filipino seaman was confined after falling ill while on the job. Photo: Google Maps

A Filipino seafarer who suffered from a severe illness while working on ships overseas has received a settlement of more than two million pesos (US$40,000) from his employer.

Reggie Cagdan, 45, worked as a seaman for over five years on cargo ships carrying chemicals and raw materials for cement factories. However, Cagdan suffered an unbearable pain in his ear late last year while he was working, The Filipino Times reported.

Cagdan said pain killers did not help ease the pain and it became worse. After a tumor was found, he was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma of External Auditory Canal, a rare malignant disease. Cagdan was sent back to the Philippines and confined at the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center in Batac City, Ilocos Norte for treatment.

However, Cagdan’s family could not afford the mounting hospital expenses and thought about seeking help. Cagdan’s sister Brendalyn said she filed a case against her brother’s employer through the Department of Labor and Employment in the Ilocos region.

“We don’t have the money to pay for his hospital bills. We’re so glad that we were advised by local officials to seek help from the department and filed a case to claim my brother’s benefits from his employer,” Brendalyn said.

His sister said the department was able to contact the employer, who agreed to give a total of 2.15 million pesos (US$41,230). The claim was made through the department’s Single Entry Approach (SEnA), a dispute settlement mechanism available on labor-related issues where an employee and employer are required to attend conciliation or mediation hearings and reach a settlement within 30 days.

SEnA desk officer Chariy Ubilas said Cagdan was the first ever case handled by SEnA involving a former overseas worker.

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