PUERTO PRINCESA CITY — The Social Security System (SSS) has opened 15 additional Service Offices (SOs) so far in 2013 in selected malls nationwide, including one in this city, bringing the total SOs to 22. The first batch of mall-based SOs were simultaneously opened in six Robinsons Malls on May 16 last year, and another one was launched on June 6, for a total of 7 SOs for 2012.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. said that the opening of SOs is a way of reaching out to more members and allowing them to avail of SSS services even beyond office hours and during weekends. “Our SOs help decongest the number of people transacting in SSS branches since members now have another venue for their SSS transactions. SOs are open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aside from SSS, members can also transact with other government agencies that have satellite offices next to our Service Offices,” de Quiros noted.

The fast growth in the number of SOs is a testament to the soundness of this strategic move towards more partnerships with mall operators. The spaces for SOs are provided to SSS rent-free by mall operators who also benefit from the increased foot traffic from transacting members.

In July 2013 alone, six SOs were opened in Robinsons Place in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan; Ali Mall in Cubao, Quezon City; Star Mall in San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan; Robinsons Place in Calasiao, Pangasinan; Robinsons Place in Angeles City, Pampanga; and KCC Mall in Lagao, General Santos City.

Other SOs launched this year are located at Robinsons Malls in San Fernando City, Pampanga; Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac; Cebu City; Dumaguete City; Bacolod City; Iloilo City; Cagayan de Oro City and General Santos City. In May 2013, SSS also opened an SO at Walter Mart Makiling in Calamba, Laguna.

De Quiros said SOs accept salary loan applications, maternity notifications and requests for change in data record, provide web registration assistance and resetting of passwords. SOs also issue SSS forms, social security numbers and employer ID numbers, and members can also go there to check their posted contributions, loan balance, salary loan eligibility, benefit claim and ID application status.

“The SSS plans to further enhance the services of selected SOs by providing them with SSS info kiosks, ID data capture machines and other facilites,” he said. “In fact, our SO in Ali Mall in Cubao started offering ID data capture services to SSS members applying for the Unified Multipurpose Identification Card last July 2013.”

The seven SOs launched last year in various Robinsons Malls are located in Ermita, Manila; Paco, Manila; Novaliches, Quezon City; Ortigas, Quezon City; Dasmariñas, Cavite; Imus, Cavite; and Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

In addition to the mall-based SOs, the SSS also has 32 SOs in municipal and city halls and other locations nationwide where members can avail themselves of the same transactions being offered by SOs located in the malls. SSS SOs in municipal and city halls are open during weekdays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.