SUBIC, Zambales: A 38-year-old worker who fell into a manhole while on duty at the Korean shipbuilding dry dock located at Redondo Peninsula here was told to tell the hospital staff his accident happened at home in exchange for the company shouldering his medical expenses.
Isabelo Mangao, however, told The Manila Times that after he agreed not to reveal the real cause of his accident, the promise of medical assistance was not honored by JR General Services (JGS), a project contractor of Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp. Philippines (HHIC-Phil).
In an interview at his house in Sitio Nagtulong, Barangay Cawag here, Mangao said he was putting scaffoldings together at the Hanjin dry dock in the late afternoon of March 26 when he accidentally stepped on a manhole and fell about 10-15 feet to a lower floor.
He said he was taken to the company clinic and the doctor there recommended that he be taken to a hospital.
Instead of callng a ambulance, Mangao said the JGS had him transported by the company pickup that took them almost five hours to reach the James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital (JLGMH) in Olongapo City.
While on their way to the hospital, he said he was told by the JGS coordinator to say that the accident happened in his home and not at the worksite of Hanjin. Mangao said he thought it best to follow the instruction of the coordinator, believing his agency will be taking care of his medical expenses.
Originally from Oriental Mindoro who came to Subic in 2009, Mangao worked at Hanjin as piping worker from 2009 to 2013, as a grinder under another subcontractor in 2015, before resigning to try fishing to feed his family. When he realized being a fisherman was not enough to meet his family needs, he again applied for a job as fit up man before he met the accident.
From the JLGMH, Mangao was taken to the Philippine Orthopedic Center in Metro Manila, where a metal brace was placed on his broken right hip, and he underwent treatment and rehabilitation until May 24 this year.
Mangao’s wife, Ana, told The Manila Times it was difficult for her to be traveling to Manila to check and to care for her husband, at the same time going back home to look after their two children.
She claimed JGS only gave P20,000 for the P82,000 cost of the metal placed on Mangao’s hip, so that she sought the help of the Philippine Charity Sweepstake Office (PCSO) to pay for the P65,000 balance.
Mangao is now home and walks aided by crutches, and was told he can possibly walk without assistance in six months up to one year, but cannot go back to work yet.
His wife assumed the role of breadwinner by doing laundry in the neighborhood.
She said Subic Mayor Jay Khonghun provided medicines for her husband, but they have not received any financial help from JGS since her husband was released from the hospital. She added that Hanjin didn’t give them any help.
A source with close connection to a Hanjin representative told The Manila Times they will immediately look into the matter, as the company is not aware of the incident.
The source added that if Hanjin was aware at the onset of what happened to Mangao, they could have forced the subcontractor to pay the damages and could even imposed a penalty.