MANILA, Philippines—Some 3.6 million members of the Social Security System (SSS) adversely affected by Typhoon “Pablo” can secure funds to help them recover from the disaster through a relief package that the pension fund has launched.
Emilio de Quiros Jr., SSS president and chief executive, said in a statement that the package consisted of the early renewal of salary loans, advanced release of three-months’ worth of pensions and a two percentage-point cut in the interest rate of loans obtained for direct house repair and improvement.
De Quiros said the package addressed the needs of SSS members located in areas that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) had declared to be in a state of calamity or in areas that “may be declared” as such.
“Members in declared calamity areas can use their loan proceeds and advance pensions for basic and immediate needs such as food, clothing, shelter and medicines,” he said.
The areas are Palawan, Siquijor, Cebu, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Surigao del Sur and Agusan del Sur.
“The funds can also serve as capital for members whose source of livelihood was disrupted by the typhoon,” he added.
To qualify for the SSS salary loan early renewal program (Slerp), which allows current borrowers to renew their loan ahead of the prescribed schedule, a member must have at least six posted contributions within the past 12 months before the month of application.
“Members with sanctions on loan renewal due to having availed themselves of the SSS condonation program are also allowed to apply for Slerp, as long as they live or work in a declared calamity area,” De Quiros said. “We will also waive the one percent-service fee under the Slerp.”
Applications for the Slerp must be submitted by March 31 next year.
An applicant who seeks advance pension must secure certification from the concerned barangay (village) chairman that he or she lives in a declared calamity area. Applications must be in by Jan. 31.
“Since SSS pensions for January 2013 were already released to our partner banks, pensioners who apply for calamity relief within December 2012 will get their pensions for February to April 2013 in advance,” De Quiros said.
A borrower who wishes to get a house repair and improvement loan on reduced rate must have at least three contributions within the 12-month period before he applies.
The borrower must also present a certification from the barangay, local government unit NDRRMC or the Department of Social Work and Development stating that the damage on the house to be repaired was due to the typhoon.