BAGUIO CITY – The Baguio City Council approved a resolution urging the State-owned Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS) to grant financial assistance in the amount equivalent to one month pension to all their pensioners for them to cope with the heavy impact of the prevailing crisis triggered by the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak worldwide.
The resolution authored by Councilor Betty Lourdes F. Tabanda stated the need for both the GSIS and the SSS to understand the plight of the retirees and to extend the necessary response for them to be able to cope with the crisis by way of financial assistance.
The resolution added that during this extraordinary emergency period, the retirees are left only with the option to stretch their meager monthly pension, some as small as P3,000, to provide for their needs during the emergency.
Further, the resolution claimed the pension is the fruit of their long years of service and hard work which they now look up to as their only rescue for them to sustain the living condition of their families.
From March 17 to May 15, 2020, the country has been under a state of public health emergency due to the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 that has ravaged different countries, thus, a strict enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) over the entire Luzon island and some parts of the archipelago was enforced.
The resolution disclosed the ECQ implementation resulted to the disruption and virtual stoppage of the regular activities and caused severe economic impact on people’s lives, especially those belonging to the vulnerable and marginalized sectors, which include the retirees who are dependent in their monthly pension for their daily sustenance and medication.
Earlier, the GSIS and the SSS issued advisories for the early release of the monthly pensions of their thousands of pensioners during the period covered by the prevailing ECQ to ensure they will be able to use their pension for their daily subsistence and maintenance, as well as to provide resources for their families.
The national inter-agency task force for the management of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases identified the senior citizens, including the retirees, as among the vulnerable and marginalized sectors during the ECQ implementation.
Even during the period of the general community quarantine (GCQ) effective May 16, 2020, the task force still identified the senior citizens, especially those with co-morbidities and underlying medical health conditions, as one of the vulnerable and marginalized sectors as they will still be prohibited from going out of their residences while the threat of COVID remains in the midst.
The approved resolution will be transmitted to the GSIS and SSS for information, guidance, ready reference, and further needed action by the two government-owned and controlled corporations that are in charge of social security for workers in the government and private sectors.
By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis