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Friday, October 7, 2011

Workers picket SSS, bat for emergency assistance, not loans

Workers led by labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno picketed the Social Security System main office in Quezon City today and called on the agency to grant emergency cash assistance, not emergency loans, to members who are victims of typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel.”

Workers said that because there has not been a significant wage increase in recent years and the prices of basic goods and services have been soaring, additional loans will mean additional burdens for private-sector workers who comprise the SSS membership.

“What workers and SSS members need right now is genuine assistance, not an additional debt burden. This is far from mendicancy, since SSS funds come from the contribution of its working members,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general.

“The SSS has to offer help to members whose homes were washed away or gravely damaged, whose clothes and children’s school supplies were taken away by floods, whose simple amenities in life like beds were destroyed. This is not asking much,” he added.

“Without an emergency cash assistance, SSS members will be further buried in debt. It will take a long time and a lot of penny-pinching to pay for these loans,” he said.

Significant assistance, simple procedures

In a letter to SSS president and chief executive officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr., KMU proposed that a substantial emergency calamity assistance be made available to SSS members.

It proposed that the assistance be released based on simple procedures of verifying whether a member was indeed devastated by the typhoons.

“We demand a significant assistance, not just small amounts which does not do justice to workers’ labor. The procedures for accessing the assistance should be simple. Bureaucratic red tape on this matter is unforgiveable, because the cash assistance is urgently needed by typhoon victims,” Soluta said.

“The procedure for verifying whether a member has indeed been severely affected by the recent typhoons should be simple. The government’s mapping of affected areas would help a lot on this matter,” he added. Roger Soluta, KMU Secretary General

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