SSS to provide calamity assistance to members, pensioners in typhoon-hit areas

Maris Federez   •   November 16, 2020   •   707

MANILA, Philippines — The Social Security System (SSS) on Sunday announced that it will open an assistance package for its members and pensioners in areas declared by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as under a state of calamity due to Super Typhoon Rolly, Typhoon Quinta, and Typhoon Ulysses.

On its Facebook post, the SSS said the assistance program will be open on 27 November 2020.

The assistance package will include the Calamity Loan Assistance Program (CLAP), Three-month Advance Pension for SS and Employees’ Compensation pensioners, and the Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan. 

“Applications for CLAP and the Three-month Advance Pension will be open from 27 November 2020 until 26 February 2021. The Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan will be open for one year from the issuance of its corresponding circular,” the advisory added.

The SSS added that it will be coordinating with its media partners and shall utilize its Facebook page for the release of the complete guidelines for the said programs.

The SSS concluded that it “commiserates with everyone who was affected by the said typhoons. It hopes that through the assistance package and its regular benefit programs, it may help its members and pensioners during these difficult times.” —/mbmf

‘Auring’ affects around 50,000 families; leaves 1 dead, 4 missing – NDRRMC

Freema Gloria   •   February 24, 2021

A total of 49,947 families have been affected by the tropical storm Auring according to the updated report released by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The CARAGA region was particularly the hardest hit as it recorded 47,791 affected families, one fatality due to drowning, four missing after a boat capsized in Surigao del Sur, and two injuries.

The council said 18,996 families or 69,682 individuals are currently sheltered in evacuation centers in Regions VI, VII, VIII, X, and CARAGA.

A total of 679 houses were destroyed in Regions VIII, X, XI, and CARAGA; 226 of them were totally wrecked and 453 were partially damaged.

Twelve roads and two bridges were affected in Regions V, VI, VIII, XI and Caraga.

The NDRRMC data showed that the affected areas incurred a total of P21,437,542  cost of damage in the agriculture sector and around P2.8 million in infrastructures.

The Department of Social and Welfare Development and the local government units in Regions X and CARAGA provided more than P3.2 million worth of assistance.

Senate OKs bill granting presidential powers to defer SSS contribution hike

Robie de Guzman   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to grant the President limited power to postpone increases in the Social Security System (SSS) contributions for six months in times of national emergency or calamity.

The Senate Bill 2027 was passed on Monday after receiving 21 affirmative votes from senators. It was sponsored by Sen. Richard Gordon, chairperson of the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises.

Under the measure, the President, upon the recommendation of the Social Security Commission, may suspend the scheduled increase for six months and may extend the deferment for another six months for a total of one year.

The bill seeks to amend section 4(a)(9) of Republic Act No. 11199, also known as the “Social Security Act of 2018,” which allows the Social Security Commission, the governing body of the SSS, to implement the contribution rate increase.

Under Sec. 4(a)(9) of Republic Act (RA) No. 11199, a one percent contribution increase will be imposed on SSS members every two years starting 2019 until 2025.

This means that from a contribution rate of 12 percent in 2020, contribution rate will increase to 13 percent beginning January 2021.

Gordon, also one of the bill’s authors, pointed out that having the mandated contribution increase under RA 11199 is not timely because of the continuing hardship brought about by COVID-19 pandemic to the people and to the business sector.

“This bill seeks to provide the people with flexibility to adapt to the pandemic by empowering the President to temporarily suspend or defend the increase in contributions scheduled under RA 11199, so that the people will be able to have financial breathing space to be able to adjust to the on-going National Emergency,” Gordon said in a statement.

The bill also states that other scheduled contribution rates and the monthly salary credits shall continue to be valid and effective, provided that no changes in the implementing rules or administrative procedures would be introduced by the Social Security Commission that will defer the disbursement of benefits.

‘Auring’ affects over 53,000 people in Caraga, Regions 10 & 11 – NDRRMC

Robie de Guzman   •   February 22, 2021

Tropical Depression Auring has affected a total of 13,816 families or 53,236 persons in the regions of Caraga, Davao, and Northern Mindanao, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported Monday.

In its 8 a.m. situation report, the NDRRMC said that 12,825 families or 49,236 persons of the total affected individuals are currently staying in 308 evacuation centers while others sought shelter with their relatives.

A total of 16,059 families or 59,170 persons were pre-emptively evacuated in Regions 7, 8, 10, and Caraga.

A total of 179 houses were damaged in the provinces of Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur due to the impact of the storm, the agency said.

Five roads and one bridge were reported affected in Regions 8, 11 and Caraga. Two of the affected roads were already passable, the NDRRMC said.

Due to the inclement weather, a total of 40 domestic flights of the Philippine Airlines were cancelled from Friday, February 19 to Monday, February 22.

A total of 2,931 passengers, 857 rolling cargoes, and six vessels were also stranded in ports in Regions 7 and 8 after sea trips were suspended due to the storm.

The NDRRMC also noted that the province of Negros Oriental has suspended classes and work in government on Saturday and Sunday.

Tacloban City also announced the suspension of classes and work in government on Monday while the municipality of Calatrava in Romblon canceled work on Monday, the agency said.

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