Families evacuated from the vicinity of the Taal volcano rest in the La Consolacion College gymnasium evacuation centre in Tanauan on Jan. 17, 2020. The threat of the Philippines' Taal volcano unleashing a potentially catastrophic eruption remains high, authorities warned on January 16, saying it was showing dangerous signs despite a "lull" in spewing ash.
AFP/Ed Jones
GSIS, SSS extend loans, assistance for Taal-hit members
Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - January 24, 2020 - 7:11pm

MANILA, Philippines — State pension fund Government Service Insurance System has allotted almost P2.4 billion to emergency loans for active members and pensioners who work or live in Batangas and Cavite provinces, the provinces hardest hit by the Taal Volcano unrest.

After the volcano’s phreatic (steam-driven) eruption over ten days ago on January 12, an Alert Level 4 (hazardous eruption imminent) remains in effect.

A state of calamity has since been issued in both Batangas (January 13) and Cavite (January 15).

"Our offices in Pasay and Batangas City will be open even on Saturdays to accommodate pensioners who will apply for the emergency loan over the counter, and members who will apply through the GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (GWAPS) kiosks,” GSIS Chairman and Acting President and General Manager Rolando Ledesma Macasaet said in a release.

GWAPS kiosks can be found in all GSIS branch and extension offices, provincial capitols, city halls, selected municipal offices, large government agencies, and in Robinsons Malls and selected SM City branches.

Almost 120,000 active members and old-age and disability pensioners are eligible to apply for the emergency loan worth P20,000.

Active members may apply if they meet the following conditions:

  • Work or live in the calamity-declared areas 
  • Have updated premium payments within the last six months before application
  • Have no unpaid loans for more than six months
  • Not on leave of absence without pay
  • Have no pending administrative case or criminal charge
  • Have a minimum net take-home pay of P5,000 after deduction of the monthly premium contributions and loan amortizations

The deadline for the loan application is February 17 in Batangas and February 20 in Cavite.

“Members with prior loans may renew provided their loan payment is up to date. The outstanding emergency loan balance will be deducted from the net proceeds of the new loan,” according to GSIS.

Additionally, disability and old-age pensioners in the Batangas and Cavite may apply for the emergency loan if the resulting net monthly pension after availing the loan is at least a quarter (25%) of their basic monthly pension.

The emergency loan is payable in 36 equal monthly installments at a 6% interest rate. It is covered by a loan redemption insurance that guarantees the loan fully paid if the borrower dies, as long as loan repayments are updated.

Loan proceeds will be electronically credited to the borrower’s GSIS electronic card or eCard or unified multipurpose identification (UMID) card.

SSS assistance

The state-run Social Security System is also providing different forms of assistance to its members and pensioners affected by the Taal Volcano unrest.

Based on Circular 2020-002 issued last week, Batangas and "all other areas which may be declared under state of calamity” by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council are covered by SSS assistance.

The Calamity Loan Assistance Program (CLAP) can be availed by member-borrowers who live in calamity-declared areas and who suffered damages or losses to their properties.

A three-month advanced pension and direct house repair and improvement loans are also available to pensioners.

The SSS assistance package will be available until April 21, except for the direct house repair and improvement loans which are applicable until Jan. 16, 2021.

To apply for calamity loans, the members must meet the following conditions:

  • Must be registered in SSS web registration (My.SSS facility) for billing purposes
  • Must have at least 36 monthly contributions, six of which posted within the last year before application
  • Home address or property located at calamity-declared area suffered damages or losses
  • Have not been granted any final benefit such as total permanent disability or retirement
  • Must not have an outstanding CLAP or Loan Restructuring Program 
  • If employed, the employer must be updated in the payment of SS contributions and loan remittances, as applicable

The loan is payable in 24 equal monthly installments. The loan amortization will start on the second month after the date when the loan is approved.

The loan will be charged an interest rate of 10% per year until fully paid, computed on a diminishing principal balance and will be amortized over a two year period.

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