GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/22 April) — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Region 12 has linked up with the Social Security System (SSS) to provide the area’s poor households with access to social insurance.
Bai Zorahayda Taha, DSWD Region 12 director, said they have forged an agreement with the SSS to facilitate the enrollment into the system of the beneficiaries of the national government’s anti-poverty initiative Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps.
4Ps is a poverty reduction and social development strategy of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to “poorest of the poor” households to improve their health, nutrition and education particularly of children aged 0-14 years.
The program provides beneficiaries cash grants of P500 a month for health and nutrition expenses and P300 a month per child for educational expenses. A household with three qualified children could get P1,400 monthly.
Taha said SSS personnel recently launched a series of orientations regarding its programs to 4Ps beneficiaries in Banga town in South Cotabato and in Koronadal City.
The activity mainly focused on the processes involved in applying for SSS membership, its benefits, privileges and monthly contributions, she said.
Brendo Belmonte, accounts management section head of SSS Koronadal City branch, said an initial 250 beneficiaries joined the orientation in Banga town and about a thousand in Koronadal City.
He said their orientations focused on the importance of the availment of the SSS programs, especially by the poor residents or households.
Belmonte said they are “helping poor families understand the need to invest in social insurance given their socio-economic condition.”
“With their membership to SSS, families are ensured of their future needs through the financial support and other assistance that we provide, especially in emergency situations,” he said.
When families become officially part of SSS, they are obliged to pay P312 a month or an equivalent of P10 per day, Belmonte said.
He said among the program’s important benefit is the educational loan assistance, which their members may avail for the upcoming enrollment.
“A total of P20,000 loan assistance for a four-year course will be provided to them when they become eligible for that type of loan. A P10, 000 loan assistance may be availed when a student is taking a vocational course,” he said.
Teresita Guilan, 4Ps provincial link for South Cotabato, said the agency’s with SSS is very significant especially in the program’s implementation.
“Part of our advocacy is encouraging families to be given access to social insurance for them to be economically-able and sufficient. This to prepare them to feel secured at times that they need help financially,” she said.
During the orientations, Guilan said SSS handed out membership forms to the 4Ps beneficiaries.
“Our goal is to recruit as many families to invest in SSS. This is very important because they get financial assistance for various concerns such as maternity, illness, disability, retirement, death and funeral,” she said. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)