A thousand self-employed members, pensioners and survivors of deceased pensioners of the Social Security System (SSS) in the capital town received food packs last week from the agency as its assistance to those affected by the Christmas Day typhoon.
A team led by SSS Senior Assistant Vice President Josie Magana of the Luzon Operations Group arrived Tuesday (Mar. 7) for the relief distribution effort for beneficiaries at barangays Hawan Grande and Buenavista. The SSS president and chief executive officer was supposed to be present but his scheduled arrival was derailed by a commission meeting on the same day which incidentally was postponed.
Magana told members of the local media that the Catanduanes relief distribution the agency conducted in recent weeks, following a similar effort in earthquake-hit Surigao City, with another team to visit Cagayan de Oro City to deliver assistance to victims of a flash flood.
She said that after typhoon Nina struck Catanduanes and the Bicol mainland on Dec. 25, the Virac branch was asked to identify areas hard-hit by the typhoon. The final list of beneficiaries was culled from the SSS database at the central office.
Virac branch head Divina Avila disclosed that the beneficiaries came from Hawan Grande (233), Balite (163), Hawan Ilaya (102), Buenavista (99), Batad (110), Calampong (88), Casoocan (120), Marilima (31), and F. Tacorda Village (34). Another 20 beneficiaries came from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology’s district jail detainees, she added.
A source said the recipients were limited to the self-employed, particularly farmers and fishermen, as well as pensioners and survivors as they have limited access to emergency relief unlike those gainfully employed. Barangay chairman Cesar Angeles informed that, with the list in hand, barangay officials informed the recipients individually to avoid misunderstanding that the relief distribution would cover all residents.
In a short interview with the media, SAVP Magana said that all pensioners have started receiving the differentials for the recent increase in their pensions which were released by the agency on March 3 and 10, with the third to be made available on March 17. She explained that system enhancements delayed by a bit the release of pension differentials.
On the other hand, she clarified that the processing of death benefits is delayed only by the lack of required documents and in cases where two spouses are claiming the benefit. “The benefits can be issued within 10 days as long as the documents are complete,” Magana stressed.
She likewise reminded SSS members with existing loans to take advantage of the loan restructuring program condoning penalties which will end on April 27.