The Social Security System (SSS) has expanded the network and services of its satellite offices in Central Visayas to serve members affected by ongoing structural evaluations of the SSS Cebu and Bohol branches, which eased down their regular operations for safety reasons following the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that devastated the region on October 15.

SSS Officer-in-Charge Edgar Solilapsi said Cebu-based members can transact at temporary SSS satellite offices at the Gaisano Fiesta Mall in Tabunok, Talisay City; Gaisano Island Mall in Lapu-Lapu City; Talisay City Hall; and the DTI-National Economic Research and Business Assistance Center (NERBAC) in Cebu City. The SSS Service Office at Robinsons Fuente Mall along Osmeña Boulevard will extend its regular business hours during the weekend to accommodate members on October 19 and 20.

Solilapsi advised members in Bohol, whose SSS servicing branch in Tagbilaran City is closed for business, to proceed to the agency’s temporary satellite offices at the Agricultural Promotional Center (APC) near the City Hall, and at the Governor’s Mansion along CPG Avenue. The SSS deployed its Cebu and Tagbilaran branch personnel to the satellite offices to enable them to accept a wide range of SSS transactions.

“While the SSS Cebu branch is partially open for limited services such as answering queries and forms issuance, it would be best for members in the affected areas to instead visit the satellite offices for their SSS concerns,” he said. “Despite the calamity that has hit the region, the SSS is doing its best to provide uninterrupted service delivery, especially in this time of great need.”

Neighboring SSS branches in Cebu province at the cities of Toledo, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Bogo remain in normal operation. To help meet the expected surge in transactions with the announcement of the calamity relief package for earthquake-hit members and pensioners, the SSS Mandaue Branch will remain open for business on Saturday, October 19. Deployed SSS Cebu Branch personnel will assist the Mandaue Branch in handling the expected influx of transacting members.

Solilapsi called on affected members and pensioners in declared calamity areas to avail themselves of the SSS calamity relief package, which offers relaxed terms for salary and house repair loans, and advance release of three months’ worth of pensions. To qualify, they must be residing or employed in places officially declared as calamity areas by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

The relief package offers the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program (SLERP) that allows current borrowers to renew their salary loans ahead of the prescribed schedule, which is one year after the start of loan payment. The SLERP also suspends the sanction on loan renewal imposed on affected members who had earlier availed themselves of the SSS Loan Penalty Condonation Program.

“SSS will waive the one percent loan service fee of SLERP applicants. As for members without existing loans, their salary loan application will likewise be exempted from the service fee if the loan is processed under the calamity relief package,” Solilapsi said. “The deadline for affected members is November 29, 2013 for both SLERP and new salary loan applications.”

The SSS also lowered the annual interest rate of its House Repair and Improvement Loan Program to six percent and waived the regular application fee of up to P3,000 as part of the SSS relief package. Interested borrowers from declared calamity areas have one year to file their applications for the special house repair loans.

Solilapsi said the last component of the package is the advance release of pensions to SSS pensioners for retirement, disabililty and survivorship. Pensioners must file their applications for the relief package, along with a barangay-issued certification of their residence in a declared calamity area, on or before November 29, 2013.