MANILA, Philippines – The Social Security System (SSS) offices reopened on Monday (June 1) after more than two months of temporary closure due to strict implementation of community quarantine measures in Metro Manila and other areas prompted by the coronavi/rus disease (COVID-19).
At its main office in Diliman, Quezon City, members crowded the SSS premises to transact different claims and loan applications that have been delayed since the outbreak started this year.
Security personnel were all eyes on the waiting clients constantly reminding them to maintain physical distancing.
A large box is placed at the entrance where members may place their application forms.
Floor markings are also in place inside the office premises reminding clients where to properly stand when in queue.
A specific area, meanwhile, is allotted for payment transactions.
Despite the health risks, several senior citizens opted to patiently wait in line to process their applications for pension.
“Kasi antagal na akong naghihintay doon sa ayudang sinasabi nila hanggang ngayon wala. Kaya personal na akong nagpunta [I have been waiting for the assistance that they told us which I have not received until now],” lamented a senior citizen, David Alano.
“Isa-submit na lang po. Naabutan ako ng lockdown dapat noong April. Kailangan ko kasi may maintenance ako [I just need to submit it. I was supposed to file in April but it was delayed due to the lockdown. I need this because of my maintenance],” said Janice Labasan, also a senior citizen.
Due to the influx of clients, SSS is encouraging its members to process their applications or transact online to avoid large crowds in branches and keep protected from the virus.
“Dinagdagan namin, marami na kaming ilalagay na serbisyo online para mabawasan ang nagta-transact sa branches [We have added several services online to minimize transactions in branches],” said SSS Spokesperson Fernando Nicolas.
“Retirement pwede na online. Iyong maternity benefit claim natin sa online na rin. So marami na pong mawawalang serbisyo sa branch at pupunta na sa online [Retirement (claims), maternity benefit claims can be done online. We have minimized the services in branches and transferred them online],” he added.
Meanwhile, SSS said that payment of accumulated contributions for employers, self employed, voluntary members, household members is extended until June 15. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)
MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of Filipino workers repatriated from Kuwait are set to return to the country this week, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said.
In a statement on Sunday, DOLE cited a report from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) in Kuwait stating that 380 distressed overseas Filipino workers (OFW) will arrive in Manila on June 1 and June 3.
They will be repatriated via two chartered flights, each carrying 190 OFWs, arranged by the Kuwaiti government.
The repatriation of this batch is part of the State of Kuwait’s Amnesty Program which started in April 2020, DOLE said.
According to DOLE Undersecretary Claro Arellano, 2,277 Filipinos were repatriated by the Kuwaiti government following the March 30 implementation of its Amnesty Program covering all expatriates with expired residency visa including those with absconding cases provided that they have no travel ban.
“Kuwaiti government shouldered the airfare costs, including provision for food and accommodation to qualified OFW availees pending their departure to the Philippines,” Arellano said.
DOLE said closely coordinated with the Public Authority for Manpower and the Ministry of Interior, through the POLO in Kuwait, to ensure that qualified OFWs are given priority access on the amnesty program of the host government which ended on April 30.
MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila and some parts of the country will begin the implementation of general community quarantine (GCQ) on Monday (June 1).
Alongside the shift from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ)to GCQ is the reopening of companies and establishments with a number of employees returning to their workplaces.
Based on records by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) around 2.8 million workers stopped working, some were laid off, due to the impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-1) pandemic on the country’s economy.
Thus, many of those whose income were affected during the quarantine will need to work harder to recover their finances with the reopening of industries and sectors.
“Considering na matagal silang nawalan ng trabaho [Considering the length of time that they have been idle], you can just imagine the rush of workers kasi no-work-no-pay,” Bello noted.
“Now that they can work, for sure they will do everything within their means to report back to office,” he added.
The Secretary also expressed concern about the workers’ dilemma over the limited operation of mass transportation.
Street sweeper Lolita Danieles just returned to work on Tuesday (May 26) after two months of staying at home.
However, she struggles with transportation as she has to pay P70 for a tricycle ride from Payatas to Litex, just halfway to her workplace in Timog Avenue.
“Minsan ang bus pumapara kami hindi kami hinihintuan. Maghintay talaga kami. Tyaga lang, [There are buses passing by but they do not stop. We need to wait patiently,]” she said.
“Kanina nga lang hinintuan kami nung kotse, siningil sa amin tig P50 isa, [Earlier a car owner offered us a ride but charged us P50 each],” she said.
Meanwhile, an employee of a construction company, Crispin Acincieno said he opted for a two-way personal service from his home in Bulacan to his work in Quezon City instead of commuting.
“Definitely hindi muna. Kasi hindi pa naman sigurado. Hindi pa naman 100% safe na mag-public transport [Not yet for now, definitely, because it’s not yet sure if public transportations are 100% safe],” he said.
Secretary Bello reminds employers and employees to always observe health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
These include the regular wearing of masks, temperature checking, setting up disinfection stations with alcohol and foot baths as well as maintaining proper social distance.
“Ating sinisiguro na ang ating mga worker na nakapasok ay ligtas sa contamination at transmission ng COVID-19 [We want to make sure, that our returning employees and workers are safe from contamination and transmission of COVID-19],” Bello said. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
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