— Over 150 prison inmates from this city comprised Mindanao’s first-ever batch of jail-based participants joining the Social Security System’s (SSS) innovative microsavings program called “AlkanSSSya.”

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. said the agency launched twin AlkanSSSya units – one containing 96 slots for female inmates, and another with 160 slots for their male counterparts – during separate ceremonies held at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Regional Office XI in Ma-a, Davao City on May 27.

“The AlkanSSSya program empowers inmates by instilling in them the important discipline of saving. It also gives them hope and purpose because they can look forward to a secure future for themselves and for their loved ones through their active SSS membership,” de Quiros said.

The BJMP enlisted 58 female inmates and 96 male inmates in Davao to participate in the AlkanSSSya program, with hundreds of other jail residents expected to join in the coming weeks. At present, the BJMP Davao City Female Dormitory houses 184 inmates, while some 3,100 male inmates are at the BJMP Davao City Jail.

Inmates are given training on a wide range of livelihood projects including baking, cooking, plumbing, carpentry and creating handicrafts such as straw bags and accessories. These activities enable them to earn steady income and to save for SSS contributions despite their imprisonment.

“The BJMP management has expressed strong support for the AlkanSSSya program as an effective means to help inmates become productive and self-sufficient. In fact, the male inmates themselves built the two AlkanSSSya units out of wood using their carpentry skills,” de Quiros noted.

Prior to the launch, the SSS gave orientations on its programs and benefits to illustrate to jail officials and inmates the value of SSS membership. The two AlkanSSSya units were strategically placed inside the jail premises to make it convenient for the inmates to drop in their daily SSS savings.

Joining SSS officials at the AlkanSSSya launch were BJMP XI Regional Director J/SSupt Amelia Vega Talento; Davao City Jail Warden J/Supt Isabelo Cartin, Jr.; Officer-in-Charge City Jail Wardress J/Insp Jerry Grace Danao; and Rev. Fr. Angelo Durana, who serves as the jail chaplain.

Launched in 2012, the AlkanSSSya program offers self-employed and informal sector workers an easy and affordable means to regularly set aside part of their income for monthly SSS contributions using a communal, cabinet-like piggy bank with secure individual slots. The program continues to bring social protection to different sectors of self-employed workers across the country.

“AlkanSSSya participants are also spared from worry on how to count and remit their contributions to SSS because we will go to BJMP to collect their savings every month,” de Quiros added. “We are certain that more inmates will be motivated to join AlkanSSSya, knowing that their hard-earned savings will go to their social protection.”