Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Salceda thanks Duterte, GSIS for P1.6-B concessional loan package for Albay members and pensioners
By Johnny C. Nunez

MANILA, Jan. 10 (PNA) -- The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) has approved a P1.6-billion concessional loan package for Albayano victims of Typhoon Nina which ravaged vast areas of the province, along with other provinces on Christmas day.

Beneficiaries of the loan package include both GSIS members and pensioners.

Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda who issued a flash appeal for help in the wake of Nina has thanked President Rodrigo Duterte and the new GSIS management for the prompt approval of some P1.6 billion of the concessional loans.

Salceda personally presented Albay’s condition to GSIS officials led by Chairman Wilfredo Maldea and GM Nora Saludares during the agency’s full board meeting last Tuesday where he proposed the package of calamity assistance for the agency’s members in his province.

Nina’s damage to Albay as of January 9, are as follows: cost for damaged houses - P3,696,333,000; agriculture, P568,729,360; poultry and livestock, P11,146,510; and infrastructures as reported by both the provincial engineering and local government units - P4,728,277,872. Total: P9,004,486,742.90.

Specifically, Salceda requested three items for cash flow relief and new funds flow to the Albay economy which were readily approved by the GSIS Board, as follows: P1.431 billion in emergency loans at P40,000 for active members and P20,000 for pensioners; the loan will be payable in three years with 6-month interest-free grace period; and installment payments on P172,068 million existing loans will also be deferred for six months interest free without the need for Albay resident members to apply for it.

Under the second item, a member who borrows P40,000 emergency loan this month will start paying P1,311.11 monthly installment starting July 2017 while pensioners can borrow P20,000 and pay P655.56 every month for three years.

In short, Salceda explained, all installment payments on existing loans falling due between February and July will not be collected and will not be charged penalties or additional interest except on their original terms. GSIS pensioners, he added, can borrow P20,000 and pay P655.56 for 36 months and start paying 6 months after loan takeout.

The Albay congressman profusely thanked President Duterte for his newly appointed GSIS Board headed by its new Chairman Wilfredo Maldea and the GSIS management headed by Saludares for their expeditious action on the matter. “Change is coming because the officials’ decisiveness and generosity are elevated,” he noted.

Salceda had embarked on at least three emergency financial measures following the devastation by Nina in Albay on Christmas Day. The moves were designed to cushion the long term effects of the destruction, and prop up rehabilitation efforts of several heavily devastated towns.

Aside from the GSIS, he had also coordinated with the Social Security System and the Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loan Association Inc. for calamity loans and other assistance which these agencies could extend to their members in Albay.

The lawmaker has also “started talks with Pag-IBIG (or the Home Development Mutual Fund (HMDF) for quick disbursement of P150,000 home rebuilding loans for residences damaged by Nina in his province, with special urgency for residents of Libon and Polangui towns.

He said he will also propose a P2.5-billion package in the 2017 Supplemental Budget for Libon, Polangui and Tiwi in the first district, and other parts of Albay, based on the rehabilitation plans these local government units have submitted to the Office of Civil Defense.

Nina, which hit Albay on Christmas Day, is reputedly the worst recorded calamity in the province in the past ten years, and was even more devastating than supertyphoon Reming (Durian) in 2006. Salceda had issued a flash appeal for relief assistance and donations for the victims of Nina in Albay following the devastation. (PNA) LAP/JCN/EDS