Saturday, September 9, 2017

SSS donates 50% of anniversary budget to Marawi, Ormoc victims

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 9 - The state-run Social Security System (SSS) will donate 50 percent or P5.9 million of its 60th anniversary budget to the victims of Marawi siege, and earthquake-stricken Ormoc in Leyte.

Social Security Commission (SSC) chairman Amado D. Valdez said that the Commission’s unanimous decision to realign half of the anniversary budget for financial aid was confirmed via SSC Resolution No. 578. Budget earmarked for the milestone celebration was P11.8 million.

“We are going to celebrate our milestone year next month but the Commission has decided to make it simple. Although it is not going to be grand and festive as compared to the previous years, rest assured that it will be more meaningful in the spirit of giving with more service and benefits to its members,” Valdez said.

The SSS 60th Anniversary Celebration will be held simultaneously in 301 local and foreign offices. Month-long activities include Members’ Day, Balikat ng Bayan Awards, Photo Exhibit, Best Employees’ Program, Fun Run, and Blood Donation Drive.

SSC Commissioner Arthur L. Amansec said that the SSC’s action is a response to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s statement during his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) where he called for financial assistance to Marawi victims.

“We thought that the grand festivities would be misinterpreted by the public as insensitive and a total disregard for the sufferings of our brothers and sisters in Marawi and Ormoc City, particularly those who lost their loved ones or have been displaced. We mourn for the families of our fallen soldiers who fought for our nation’s peace until the very end,” Amansec said.

Amansec also added that the SSS has remained steadfast in showing genuine care to our fellow Filipinos by organizing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) operations in areas affected by typhoon and other disasters.

“We also have this annual gift-giving activity held every Christmas season wherein SSS officials and employees pledge donations which are given to non-profit organizations,” Amansec said.

Last June, SSS donated P500,000 worth of financial aid to the soldiers and families affected by the armed conflict in Marawi through the Philippine Red Cross. (SSS/PIA-Caraga)


Red Cross website helps reunite families

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 9 – It has been more than three months since fighting broke out in Marawi City, in Lanao del Sur. But for families whose loved ones are still missing, the wait seems never-ending.

In an effort to reunite these families, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) recently launched an online page (https://familylinks.icrc.org/Philippines) that helps trace missing persons. On the occasion of the International Day of the Disappeared on August 30, the ICRC wished to draw attention to the plight of these families and stressed that people have a right to know what happened to their missing relatives.

Camilla Matteucci, head of the ICRC team, said that there are many possible causes of separation during a conflict situation. “People could be trapped by the fighting, detained or even killed. They could be in an evacuation center but do not have the means to contact their kin. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that families have a right to know what has happened to their loved ones, and wherever possible, be reunited with them. Our tracing website offers a platform for people to share information about their missing relatives and request our help in tracing them,” Matteucci said.

The website supplements existing tracing services such as the 12 PRC welfare desks in evacuation centers in Marawi and Iligan cities. The information shared by families with the Red Cross remains confidential. Since the beginning of the Marawi conflict, the Red Cross has received 402 tracing requests, 179 of which are still being looked into.

Aisha (not her real name), whose husband went missing in Marawi said, “With each day that the fighting continues, our hope diminishes. We praise Allah if my husband is still alive. But if he is dead, then we need to recover his remains so that we can bury him according to our religion and traditions. Every Maranao family looking for a loved one wishes for this,” she said.

Reuniting families in times of conflict or disaster is a key service that is always provided by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. In Marawi, the ICRC and the PRC have been providing technical and material support to help the authorities manage dead bodies. Apart from this, the PRC has provided psychosocial support to more than 10,400 people, including children, affected by the conflict.


The ICRC is a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization whose mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. The ICRC also endeavors to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles. (ICRC/PIA-Caraga)