MANILA – A lawmaker on Tuesday urged the Social Security System (SSS) to release funds to its branches for pandemic loans, members’ benefits, and other operational requirements amid reports of long queues and delays.
In filing House of Representatives Resolution 1093, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said many SSS offices are unable to accommodate the long lines of loan applicants and other members transacting business with them due to lack of personnel and equipment.
Rodriguez noted that this, in turn, results in delays in the processing and release of loans and other benefits.
“People need additional funds to tide them over the raging health crisis,” he said.
Rodriguez cited the case of two SSS branches in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) located in Barangay Carmen and Barangay Lapasan, wherein hundreds of people queue up every day without exercising physical distancing.
“Due to quarantine restrictions in previous months, people are now flocking in droves to these two branches to have their loan and benefits applications processed, resulting in lack of physical distancing, violation of other health protocols, and physical suffering,” he said.
Rodriguez pointed out that the reasons for the delay in the processing of applications “are the fact that there are only four computers in each branch for members to get their online numbers and the lack of personnel.”
“In CDO, the applicants line up as early as 5 a.m. to get ahead of the long lines every day. Many have to stand in the heat of the sun. The branches have to extend services up to 7 p.m. to accommodate those who have been in the line for hours,” he said.
Rodriguez cited the need for SSS to provide additional funding for all their branches, including the two in Cagayan de Oro, for the hiring of additional personnel, payment of overtime and night shift pay, and purchase of additional computers and tents to serve as waiting areas.
He said SSS branches should also be directed to extend their office hours up to 8 p.m. and to open on Saturdays.
“This is the least SSS should do. The members are already adversely affected by the pandemic and they still have to physically suffer while applying for loans and benefits at the SSS branches,” Rodriguez said. Filane Mikee Cervantes /PNA – northboundasia.com