Loan moratoriums helpful to gov’t workers

COLLECTION of loan amortization from borrowers of the Government Service Insurance System  will resume  only this month after the state pension fund implemented a  loan moratorium program for members, pensioners and other borrowers  from March to June this year to ease the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic on public servants.

Earlier, the agency implemented a three-month moratorium from March to May 2020 However, with the continuing crisis and quarantine measures, GSIS made it a four-month moratorium to tide over our members and pensioners.

Eligible to the moratorium were those without loan accounts that have been declared in default as of  February 29, 2020: 1) active members; 2) housing loan borrowers; 3) pensioners; and, 4) inactive GSIS members who availed of the GSIS Program for Restructuring and Repayments of Debts (PRRD).

A loan is  considered in default  if the total arrearages or unpaid monthly payments is equivalent to more than six monthly amortizations. Loans granted after May 23, 2020 are not qualified to the moratorium.

Loans covered under the moratorium include Consolidated Loan or Conso-loan; GSIS Financial Assistance Loan or GFAL; Educational Assistance Loan II; emergency loan; regular policy loan; optional policy loan; Home Emergency Loan Program; Real Estate Loan; Restructured Real Estate Loan; Low Cost Housing / Deed of Conditional Sale; pension loan; Pensioner’s Emergency Loan; Pensioner’s Restructured Loan; and PRRD.

Meanwhile, a facility that houses a state-of-the-art COVID-19 testing laboratory was recently opened to unburden the health sector and help ensure a safe return-to-work strategy in the coming months.

Owned by San Miguel Corporation (SMC), the RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) testing laboratory  aims to test some 70,000 employees in the conglomerate’s network.

Unveiling the marker for the new laboratory called the Better World Edsa was SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang, National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 chief implementer and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr., COVID-19 Task Force deputy chief implementer, and testing czar Secretary Vince Dizon, and Department of Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega.

The Better World Edsa testing facility can process 4,000 tests per day, expandable to 12,000. It is seen to help the government reach testing capacity to 50,000 per day, as well as ease the strain on the country’s testing and processing facilities.

It is equipped with two sets of RT-PCR machines and fully automated nucleic acid extraction systems or NATCH.  A set comprises two PCR machines and one NATCH. This makes the facility one of the most advanced private testing laboratories in the country.

Two weeks into the quarantine last March, SMC included the testing laboratory as part of our business continuity plan.

The corporation procured the machines, and had personnel undergo training for its full-scale operations. 

SMC aims to bring back 50 percent of its workforce in the coming weeks.

Before the shift to general community quarantine, SMC had already commenced testing its employees, prioritizing those in its food manufacturing facilities, to further stabilize the country’s food supply in the coming months.

SMC said the testing lab is its contribution to the government’s effort to continuously test and trace COVID-19 transmission and contain it, as well as enable early intervention or treatment to save lives.

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