MANILA, Philippines — As Taal Volcano remains restive, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Sunday urged the Secretary Carlos Dominguez, of the Department of Finance (DOF), to formulate a comprehensive inter-agency fund assistance program for affected residents around the volcano.
“This program may include several forms of assistance like outright cash assistance, moratorium on amortization, etc.,” said Pangilinan.
Pangilinan articipated in a relief operation in Alfonso, Cavite last Saturday.
To assist those affected, government financial institutions such as Pag-IBIG, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and Social Security System (SSS ) can extend financial assistance to its members and/or interest-free emergency calamity loans, with deferment of loan payments for at least six months, he said.
“Malaking tulong kung magkakaroon ulit ang Pag-IBIG, GSIS, at SSS ng moratorium sa lahat ng outstanding loans para sa pinaka-nasalantang mga miyembro nila. Magagamit ang ipambabayad sa mga utang para itayo ulit ang mga bahay nila at iba pang kagyat na pangangailangan,” he added.
“Malaking ginhawa ito, lalong-lalo na sa mga retired na at tumatanggap ng pension,” he said.
Pangilinan said that as in the aftermath of the 1991 Pinatubo eruption and the 2013 super-typhoon Yolanda, the entire government can help:
* The Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) can relaunch its cash-for-work program;
* The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) can give affected college students a one-time educational assistance of P5,000;
* The Department of Education (DepEd) can offer teachers and non-teaching staff in eruption-devastated areas loan assistance;
* The Civil Service Commission can allow government workers to avail of emergency leave;
* The Department of Health (DoH) and DSWD can provide food assistance as well as psycho-social trauma management workshops;
* The housing agencies, together with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), can work on temporary housing for the displaced.
“Pag sama-sama tayong magtutulungan, mas madali tayong makakaahon sa kalamidad,” Pangilinan said. (Stacy Ang/IAMIGO/Currentph.com)