The Social Security System (SSS) has granted over P2 billion through its calamity relief programs to about 134,000 affected members and pensioners all over the country who benefited from the early renewal of SSS salary loans and advance release of three months’ worth of pensions in 2012.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. said the SSS disbursed over P2.1 billion to 108,300 calamity-hit members through the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program (SLERP), while 25,500 pensioners received advance pensions of P179.99 million in 2012.

“We expect the number of beneficiaries of our calamity relief programs to further increase, after the SSS again offered the SLERP and advance release of pensions to help members and pensioners in areas recently battered by Typhoon Pablo,” de Quiros said.

Early last year, the SSS offered the SLERP and advance release of pensions in declared calamity areas due to Typhoon Sendong, which hit the country in December 2011, and reopened the programs after the southwest monsoon or “habagat” caused widespread destruction in mid-2012.

The SLERP allows members to renew their loans ahead of the prescribed schedule. The SSS recorded 9,064 SLERP availments amounting to P149.02 million after “Sendong,” 90 percent of which was disbursed to members in the badly-hit cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.

“SLERP loan releases to 99,230 members affected by heavy monsoon rains reached P1.95 billion,” he said. “Moreover, we granted P159.93 million in advance pensions to 23,722 pensioners due to ‘Sendong’ and P20.06 million to 1,777 pensioners affected by the monsoon.”

De Quiros said the SLERP and early pension releases are part of the current Calamity Relief Package for members in “declared and may be declared calamity areas” by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in the wake of Typhoon Pablo.

SSS’ relief package also provides a two-percentage point cut in loan interest rates for members seeking funds to repair their homes damaged by “Pablo,” the strongest typhoon that hit the country in 2012 which triggered landslides and flashfloods in southern Philippines.

“We call on ‘Pablo’-affected members and pensioners to file their applications so we can immediately process the release of their loan proceeds and advance pensions. Pensioners who apply within January 2013 will get their March, April and May 2013 pensions in advance,” he said.

The deadline of applications is January 31, 2013 for the advance release of SSS pensions; March 31, 2013 for the SLERP; and December 31, 2013 for the special annual interest rates of six and seven percent under the Direct House Repair and Improvement Loan Program.