THE SOCIAL Security System (SSS) announced yesterday that it has allocated P1.61 billion for the calamity assistance program (CAP) for more than a million of its active members and pensioners who were affected by the typhoon Mangkhut (local name: Ompong) last month.
In a statement, the state pension fund said it started offering last Oct. 5 the calamity loan, an advance three-month pension, and direct house repair and improvement loan for the affected members.
“SSS recognizes that a large number of members residing in Luzon area are currently struggling to recover from the devastation of Super Typhoon Ompong,” SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc was quoted in the statement.
Qualified members and pensioners who can avail of the CAP are those who reside or have a property in calamity-stricken areas identified by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
The provinces include Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.
The maximum loan amount is P16,000 for those who are paying contributions based on the maximum monthly salary credit.
To qualify, members should also have 36 monthly contributions, six of which must have been made 12 months prior to the application date.
However, members who are still paying a loan balance under the loan restructuring program and previous calamity loans, as well as those with final benefit claims, are not qualified for the CAP.
SSS identified 80,000 potential borrowers with an average monthly salary credit of P10,000, out of the more than 800,000 paying members who were affected by typhoon Ompong.
“The calamity loans are more affordable and has flexible payment terms, which are payable in two years in equal monthly installments with interest rate of 10% per annum,” Mr. Dooc said. “We have also waived the one percent service fee to help reduce the applicant’s expenses.”
Members outside the country can also apply for the program by issuing an authorization letter to their representatives.
Aside from the calamity loan, members with damaged homes can apply for the direct house repair and improvement loan program which carry interest rates of only 8% annually for loan amount up to P450,000, while loans between P450,000-P1 million have a 9% interest rate per annum.
Pensioners can also avail of their pension for three months in advance.
Filing of calamity loan and advance pension is until Jan. 4, 2019, while home repair loan applications can be submitted until Oct. 4, 2019.
Ompng, the strongest typhoon to hit the country so far this year, caused almost P7 billion in infrastructure damages, based on the partial estimate of the Department of Public Works and Highways on Sept. 25.
SSS is also offering the CAP to members affected by other typhoons and monsoon rains that struck the country earlier this year. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal