Total and permanent disability; period of entitlement

Article 192(c)(1), Chapter VI, Title II, Book IV of the Labor Code, as amended, states that a disability which lasts continuously for more than 120 days is deemed total and permanent, the law makes a qualification, thus:
ART. 192. Permanent and total disability, x x x x

(c) The following disabilities shall be deemed total and permanent:

(1) Temporary total disability lasting continuously for more than one hundred twenty days, except as otherwise provided for in the Rules[.]

[Emphasis supplied]
Section 2(b), Rule VII of the Implementing Rules of Title II, Book IV of the Labor Code, as amended, likewise provides:
SECTION 2. Disability, x x x

(b) A disability is total and permanent if as a result of the injury or sickness the employee is unable to perform any gainful occupation for a continuous period exceeding 120 days, except as otherwise provided for in Rule X of these Rules. [Italics Supplied]

The provision alluded to is Section 2, Rule X of the Implementing Rules of Title II, Book IV of the Labor Code, as amended, which states:

SECTION 2. Period of entitlement, (a) The income benefit shall be paid beginning on the first day of such disability. If caused by an injury or sickness it shall not be paid longer than 120 consecutive days except where such injury or sickness still requires medical attendance beyond 120 days but not to exceed 240 days from onset of disability in which case benefit for temporary total disability shall be paid. However, the System may declare the total and permanent status at any time after 120 days of continuous temporary total disability as may be warranted by the degree of actual loss or impairment of physical or mental functions as determined by the System. 
In Vergara v. Hammonia Maritime Services, Inc., (588 Phil. 895 [2008]) the Court harmonized the POEA-SEC with the Labor Code and the Amended Rules on Employee Compensation (AREC) holding that: (a) the 120 days provided in Section 20-B(3)[24] of the POEA SEC is the period given to the employer to determine the fitness of the seafarer to work, during which the seafarer is deemed to be in a state of total and temporary disability; (b) the 120 days of total and temporary disability may be extended by a maximum of 120 days, or up to 240 days, should the seafarer require further medical treatment; and (c) a total and temporary disability becomes permanent when so declared by the company-designated physician within 120 days or 240 days, as the case may be, or upon the expiration of the said periods without a declaration of either fitness to work or permanent disability and the seafarer is still unable to resume his regular seafaring duties. (Vergara v. Hammonia Maritime Services, Inc., supra note 23, at 912-913)

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