The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) has extended financial assistance to 223,496 members who were adversely affected by tropical storms Ondoy and Pepeng, with the release of P4.47 billion in emergency loans.

The record-breaking amount forms part of the P5.50 billion allocated by the pension fund as emergency loan to victims of Ondoy and Pepeng. Of the amount, P5 billion was for typhoon Ondoy victims, while the remaining P550 million was allocated for those victimized by typhoon Pepeng.

The loan, payable in three years in equal monthly installment, bears an annual interest rate of eight percent.

To better serve affected members, the pension fund deployed its GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (G-W@PS) kiosks at selected SM Malls, including SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, SM Fairview, SM Marikina, SM Taytay, SM Marilao, SM Pampanga, SM Las Piñas, and SM Sta. Rosa. This is an option to filing for an emergency loan at a GSIS servicing office.

"The GSIS Emergency Loan program is more than just compliance to the call of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to extend financial assistance to those who fell victims to the recent typhoons, It is, foremost, our way of showing that we are of service to our members at the time that they need us", GSIS President and General Manager Winston F. Garcia said.

The GSIS emergency loan was made available to eligible members working in government offices located in areas declared by the National Disaster Coordinating Council as under "state of calamity".

These include members working in the following: the whole of National Capital Region, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Benguet, Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Pampanga, Bulacan, Tarlac, Bataan, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Catanduanes, Camarines Norte, and Camarines Sur.

The GSIS has so far released P4.65 billion in emergency loans this year. The amount, which benefited a total of 232,848 members, includes those released during the first quarter of the year for the victims of previous typhoons.

The amount of emergency loan disbursed this year by the pension fund increased almost three-fold from P1.6 billion in 2008.