As part of ongoing efforts to help members affected by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas, the Social Security System (SSS) opened temporary satellite offices at the towns of Tubigon and Carmen, two of the hardest-hit areas in Bohol province.

SSS Officer-in-Charge Edgar Solilapsi said the new temporary satellite offices are vital additions to the agency’s network of offices in the province, which at present also includes the SSS Tagbilaran Branch and SSS Service Offices at the municipal halls of Ubay and Talibon.

“These temporary satellite offices shall operate until April 30, 2014, or until such time that their services are no longer needed as Bohol fully recovers from the disaster,” Solilapsi said. “In the meantime, we will continue to identify other locations for similar offices to make SSS services more accessible to members, especially during this time of need.”

The pension fund is anticipating the surge in applications for the SSS Calamity Relief Package for the earthquake-hit provinces of Bohol and Cebu. To further assist its affected members and pensioners, the SSS extended the initial November 29, 2013 deadline of the relief package‘s special salary loan terms and the three-month advance pensions to April 30, 2014.

“The homes of Bohol and Cebu residents are among the valuable structures damaged by the recent earthquake, which was why the SSS eased down the terms of our House Repair and Improvement Loan Program as part of the Calamity Relief Package,” Solilapsi noted.

Under the relief package, the maximum annual interest rate of nine percent was fixed at six percent for home repairs of members residing in the declared calamity areas. The SSS also waived the regular processing fee of up to P3,000, and gave members one year to apply for the special home repair loan facility.

Solilapsi said the SSS has resumed full branch operations at SSS Tagbilaran and SSS Cebu last Monday, October 21, after both offices were assessed as “structurally safe” by building engineers. These two branches will also remain open every Saturday starting October 26, similar to the new schedule to be observed by all SSS branches nationwide.

“With the SSS Tagibilaran branch now fully operational, we closed down the temporary satellite offices at the Governor’s Mansion and at the Agricultural Promotional Center, which are also in the same city, to prioritize the setting up of satellite offices in remote areas in Bohol,” he added.

The SSS has also ceased operations of its satellite offices in 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 that were opened last week on a temporary basis to ensure members’ uninterrupted access to SSS services.

Apart from the SSS Cebu branch, members in the area can also transact with the SSS Service Office at the Robinsons Fuente Mall, which is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bohol-based SSS Service Offices in Ubay and Talibon accept members’ queries and transactions on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.