President Rodrigo Duterte has authorized the grant of a one-time financial assistance of P20,000 to qualified pensioners under the employees’ compensation (EC).
Administrative Order (AO) No. 39, signed by Duterte yesterday, empowers the Employees’ Compensation Commission to grant a one-time cash aid to around 31,000 pensioners of the Social Security System and Government Service Insurance System.
In signing the AO, Duterte recognized that “the adverse effects of the pandemic on the economy, supplementary health necessities for the battle against the virus, and restrictions imposed on our mobility and social interaction, have increased the financial and health burdens experienced by the EC pensioners.”
“The ECC is hereby authorized to grant a one-time financial assistance of P20,000 to EC pensioners for permanent partial disability, permanent total disability and survivorship, in the private and public sectors, subject to the availability of funds and pertinent laws, rules, and regulations,” the AO read.
The ECC, SSS, and GSIS are directed to appropriate and release the amounts necessary to cover the one-time financial assistance from the reserves of the relevant Social Insurance Fund that the SSS and GSIS administer under the EC program.
The ECC, in coordination with the SSS and GSIS, shall issue the implementing rules and regulations necessary for the effective implementation of the order.
AO 39 takes effect immediately following its publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation.
Earlier, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved a resolution mandating pension-issuing agencies and their servicing banks and other financial institutions to adopt alternative modes of validation for senior citizen pensioners. Currently, senior citizens no longer need to make a physical appearance to claim their pension.
“The IATF considered the health and safety of senior citizen pensioners in approving this resolution and directed relevant government agencies to issue the corresponding memorandum circulars for its implementation by March 1, 2021,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, also acting as IATF-EID spokesperson, said in a statement.
Roque said the IATF-EID’s latest directive was meant to protect senior citizens who are considered vulnerable to Covid-19.
“Amid the pandemic, seniors belong to high-risk groups and are vulnerable to Covid-19. To ensure their safety, the resolution was approved so they would no longer be required to make a personal appearance in banks and financial institutions just to claim their pension,” he added.*PNA