Press Release
August 18, 2020

Bong Go urges GSIS to offer new loans to members to cushion adverse effects of COVID-19

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go urged the Government Service Insurance System to establish loan and other relief programs with flexible payment terms that may help its members manage the financial and economic fallout of the pandemic.

"Kamakailan, hiniling ko sa pamunuan ng GSIS na tulungan ang ating mga kababayan. Kung maaari ay maglatag ng mga loan programs bilang tulong naman natin sa mga kababayang miyembro nila ngayon na patuloy pa rin ang pandemyang nagpapahirap sa atin," said Go.

"Nagpapasalamat naman ako na tinugon ng pamunuan ng GSIS ang ating panawagan. I am grateful that at the time when our people are still reeling from the adverse impacts of the pandemic, they heeded our call and took extra steps to be of great help to their members," Go said appreciatively.

In a brief response, GSIS President and General Manager Rolando Macasaet said: "Merong sapat na pondo ang ahensya upang mag-offer ng loan programs sa ating mga members in response to the call of Senator Bong Go. Sang-ayon po kami sa panawagan niya---ito ang panahon na dapat tulungan natin ang mga kababayan nating makaahon mula sa paghihirap na dulot ng COVID-19. Kaya, nagpapasalamat din kami kay Senador Go sa patuloy niyang pagiging tulay ng mga ordinaryong Pilipino sa pamahalaan."

Recently, Go encouraged the GSIS to develop a small loans program for its members as well as a tuition loan program to help families pay for school fees, and an e-transition loan program for public school teachers to purchase laptops and other gadgets in aid of the transition to online learning.

Heeding his call, the agency developed the GSIS Financial Assistance Loan - Educational Loan (GFAL-EL) program to help its members pay up to 100% of their beneficiaries' tuition fees and other school expenses. The beneficiaries must be enrolled in an undergraduate program of a private or public tertiary institution. The GFAL - EL loan is a 10-year loan with a 5-year grace period allowing members not to worry about tuition and other school fees while their dependents are still in college.

As a complementary program to GFAL-EL, the GSIS created the GSIS Computer Loan (GCL) program to help their members purchase a computer unit for their online learning and work-from-home needs. Members can borrow a total amount of P30,000 with an interest rate of 6% per annum which will be repayable over a term not exceeding 36 months. The GCL will be open to active members with permanent appointments.

Earlier this year, Go also made an appeal to GSIS management to waive the penalties for delayed remittances, release pensions early and grant emergency loans to its members, pensioners and beneficiaries.

In response, the state pension agency granted the above-mentioned requests and also announced the online GSIS COVID-19 Emergency Loan program through which its members may take out a loan of P40,000 that is payable in three years at only 6% interest per annum. The loan is covered by insurance and is deemed fully paid in case of the borrower's demise.

Go, as Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography, also appealed for increased insurance benefits to lessen the financial burden on the surviving families of health workers who suffered fatal COVID-19 infections.

In response to these calls, the GSIS created the Bayanihan Fund for Frontliners (BFF) which provides the surviving families of government-employed health workers an additional P500,000 in insurance benefits.

The BFF program, the benefits of which were first released last June, covers other GSIS members involved in providing health care and assistance to COVID-19 stricken patients, such as cardiovascular technologists, medical technologists, X-ray technicians, pulmo-therapists, pulmonologists, nursing aides, pharmacists, ambulance drivers, administrative staff, housekeeping and security guards, among others.

The Senator likewise encouraged other government financial institutions (GFIs), including the Social Security System and Land Bank of the Philippines, to provide similar programs with payment accommodations to their borrowers who have been affected in a variety of ways by the COVID-19 outbreak. Such assistance, Go stressed, will help the borrowers face short-term setbacks and communities to recover.

Following the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, both Houses of Congress are now finalizing, in the Bicameral Committee, the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act which will include economic recovery measures such as capital infusion to GFIs, subsidies and allowances for qualified students, and additional funding to assist the Department of Education in the implementation of alternative learning modalities, among others.

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