The Social Security System (SSS) is giving its partner-cooperatives and informal sector groups (ISGs) an opportunity to market their goods and wares at the SSS Livelihood Bazaar and Exhibit, to be held from September 2 to 6, as part of the SSS 56th anniversary celebration on September 1.

SSS Vice President for Management Services and Planning Division May Catherine Ciriaco said the five-day bazaar is a way of thanking the pension fund’s partners for their continuous support for SSS’ programs geared towards the informal sector, and to help these organizations earn from selling their products — many of which are made by the members themselves — without extra cost on their end.

“The bazaar participants are among the many organizations that support SSS initiatives for informal sector workers, such as the AlkanSSSya Program and accreditation of SSS servicing partner agents,” Ciriaco said. “The event is a good opportunity for them to showcase their members’ talent and creativity, as well as to augment their earnings that they can use to sustain their active SSS membership.”

A total of 26 ISGs and cooperatives, nine of which come from areas outside the National Capital Region (NCR) including Baguio and Davao, have signed up for the bazaar on a first-come, first-served basis. The booths, which will be set up at the SSS Diliman Branch beside the SSS Main Office in Quezon City, will be open from 7 am to 7 pm.

The bazaar exhibitors will sell various food items and specialty products such as “balut” and salted egg from Pateros; chicharon from Bulacan; fresh vegetables from Baguio; “basi,” sukang Iloko and “balikutcha” (a candy made from sugarcane molasses), from the Ilocos Region. Furniture, household items, clothing, accessories, school supplies, bags, toys, paintings and other non-food items will also be for sale.

Five jail-based associations, including the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) – Panabo, Tagum; BJMP Davao City Female Dormitory; Correctional Institution for Women (Mandaluyong); BJMP-NCR; and BJMP Quezon City Female Dormitory, will also sell handmade goods produced by the inmates themselves.

Ciriaco said three of the participating groups are homeowners associations that joined the AlkanSSSya Program, namely: the AlkanSSSya Homeowners Association (Taguig City), Greenleaf Classic I Homeowners Association and KAYPIAN Federation of Homeowners Association (both from San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan).

“We are happy that five cooperatives and workers’ associations outside of NCR have also joined the bazaar. They are the PATAMABA–Workers in the Informal Sector Enterprise from Rizal; KABALINGAY/Soroptimist International from Bulacan; Center for Agriculture and Rural Development–Mutually Reinforcing Institution (CARD-MRI) from Laguna; Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives from Ilocos Sur; and Baguio Vegetable Retailers Savings and Credit Cooperative,” she added.

NCR-based bazaar participants include CARITAS Manila; CARITAS SALVE Credit Cooperative; Tulay sa Pag-Unlad, Inc.; Payatas Poverty Alleviation Foundation, Inc.; HOMENET Producers Cooperative; Alliance of Progressive Labor; Aksyon Sambayanan; Urban Poor Affairs Office; Novaliches Development Cooperative Inc.; Sikap Buhay; Camarin (CAAP) TODA; Pateros Women’s Foundation; and Sacred Heart Parish Development Cooperative.

“SSS members and the public are invited to drop by the livelihood bazaar so that they can choose from a wide variety of products and, more importantly, help the members of these organizations to accumulate savings for their SSS contributions,” Ciriaco said. “We also encourage them to bring reusable or ‘eco’ bags to use while shopping.”