SSS, GSIS calamity loans to be activated in Abra to aid quake victims
MANILA, Philippines — The Social Security System (SSS) on Saturday said it will activate its calamity assistance package for members and pensioners in Abra province and other areas in northern Philippines which were badly hit by the magnitude 7.0 earthquake last Wednesday.
“The calamity assistance package will consist of the calamity loan assistance program and the three-month advance pension for pensioners,” SSS president and chief executive Michael Regino said in a statement.
The state-run pension fund for private-sector workers and retirees, the SSS did not say how much it had set aside for this calamity assistance, which will be made available in areas declared under a state of calamity. Due to the extensive damage in the province, Abra had been placed under a state of calamity.
Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) president and general manager Wick Veloso last Friday said 5,733 members as well as 2,503 pensioners in Abra may avail of emergency loans, although the state-run pension fund for government personnel and pensioners had yet to give details when this loan program will start accepting applications.
Last Thursday, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) directed the country’s 17 ports to “identify and inventory items such as clothing, canned goods, medicines, etc., that may be donated to the earthquake victims,” a memo issued by Deputy Commissioner Edward James Dy Buco read.
In a statement, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) said the Japanese government will send to the Philippines 100 pieces of camping tents, 500 pieces of sleeping pads, 100 rolls of plastic sheets, eight sets of generators with 16 pieces of cord reels, 16 pieces of conversion plugs, as well as 100 pieces of portable jerry cans and water containers for the earthquake victims.
“Kasama ninyo kami. Our thoughts are with those who suffered from this disaster. Acknowledging these are challenging times, we sincerely reaffirm our support to the Filipino friends. We have already decided to provide our disaster relief supplies and the Japanese experts already in the Philippines are willing to share their knowledge and experience with frontline government agencies involved in disaster management and recovery,” Jica Philippines chief representative Takema Sakamoto said.
“Filipinos are known for their resolve and spirit and we want to give our assurances that Jica’s collaboration with different agencies and local government units will be maximized to support the recovery and rebuilding,” Jica senior representative Yo Ebisawa added.
“Japan and the Philippines are both disaster-prone nations, being both located on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Over the years, Jica, as the natural partner, has been enthusiastically cooperating in the field of disaster management and resilience building to help the Philippines cope with natural disasters. Jica seeks to explore more opportunities to contribute to the Philippines using its experience on disaster management in its cooperation with its Philippine counterparts,” the Japanese government’s aid arm said.
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