Reggie Cagdan, 45, was a seaman for more than five years working for cargo ships carrying various kinds of chemicals and raw materials for cement factories.
However, last year, while doing his work inside their ship, he had an unbearable pain in the ear. He thought it would go away with pain killers. But the pain became worse and a tumor had become apparent. Later, he was diagnosed with a rare malignant disease called Squamous Cell Carcinoma of External Auditory Canal.
Reggie was repatriated and immediately confined at the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center in Batac City, Ilocos Norte.
Because of his mounting hospital expenses, Reggie’s sister Brendalyn Cagdan thought about getting some help.
She then filed a case against Reggie’s employer before the Department of Labor (DOLE) in the Ilocos Region.
“We’re so worried because at that time we don’t know where to augment his financial and medical needs. We don’t have money to pay for his hospital bills. We’re so glad that we were advised by local officials to seek help from DOLE and filed a case to claim my brother’s benefits from his employer,” Brendalyn said.
Brendalyn said that in just one day, DOLE was able to reach Reggie’s employer, and the employer agreed to give him P2,146,000.
The claim was made through the Single Entry Approach (SENA), a dispute settlement mechanism available on labor-related issues where an employee and employer would be required to attend conciliation or mediation hearings and reach settlement within 30 days.
Charity Ubilas, SENA Desk Officer, said Reggie is the first ever case handled by SENA involving a former overseas worker.