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GSIS employee tests positive for COVID-19
GSIS employee tests positive for COVID-19
Date Posted: March 16, 2020

Pasay HQ, branches in Quezon City, CDO, Tagum and Iligan closed to the public; Business Continuity Plan deployed

President and General Manager Rolando Ledesma Macasaet of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) today revealed that one of their regular female employees tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

“The female employee had a travel history to Japan, and she started manifesting symptoms on March 7. She was admitted at the San Juan de Dios Hospital on March 11, where lab tests subsequently showed that she was indeed positive for the COVID-19 virus,” Macasaet said.

The GSIS president refused to reveal the identity of the subject employee, citing privacy and security reasons.

“We are in the process of ‘contact tracing.’ The subject employee already gave us the list of persons with whom she had close physical contact from March 7 to March 11,” Macasaet stated. “We have also started notifying the persons on the list and we advised them to self-quarantine and report to us if they are experiencing symptoms,” he further added.

Macasaet said that he is also placing himself on self-quarantine, as he had close physical contact with several of the individuals listed down by the employee who tested positive for COVID-19.

“I feel well and am not showing symptoms. But just as a precautionary measure, I had myself tested for COVID-19 and whIle waiting for the results, I am placing myself on self-quarantine for the time being,” Macasaet said.

Due to recent developments, the GSIS Management has decided to continue the lockdown of the GSIS building in Pasay City until April 15. The GSIS Management also announced that the GSIS Branch Office located in Mindanao Avenue, Quezon City will be closed to the public for the same 30-day period.

The GSIS Management also ordered a work suspension in its branch offices located in Cagayan de Oro, Tagum, and Iligan City, after several employees experienced symptoms. The said employees are currently waiting for their lab test results.

Macasaet emphasized that all other GSIS branch offices and extension offices nationwide remain open to the public.
“I would like to assure the public that GSIS has a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place, and that our financial services will continue to flow unimpeded to our pensioners and members,” Macasaet stressed.

The Business Continuity Plan, developed by the Risk Management Office (RMO) of GSIS, comprises pre-arranged action plans and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for GSIS personnel to follow in times of natural calamities, man-made disasters and medical contingencies such as viral outbreaks. The state pension fund regularly conducts drills and seminars to train its personnel how to deal with various scenarios and crisis events.

Despite the lockdown, the GSIS Head Office in Pasay and its branch in Quezon City will continue to operate and will be manned by a skeletal workforce on rotational duty. Entry to the said offices, however, will be highly restricted and limited only to the following persons/parties:

• GSIS members (with UMID cards) who want to avail of loans through the GWAPS kiosk;
• GSIS members who need to pick-up their GFAL Top-Up cheques; and
• Private lending institutions (PLIs) who need to pick-up their GFAL cheques.

In order to eliminate the need for Agency Authorized Officers (AAOs) and Liaison Officers (LOs) to go to GSIS, applications for retirement/separation benefits, life insurance claims and over-the-counter (OTC) loan applications may be submitted through designated drop boxes in the Central Office or via email to their Membership Coordinator. The Operations Group of GSIS are currently coordinating the details of this interim measure to the various AAOs and LOs of government agencies.

Old-age pensioners who are experiencing problems accessing their pensions should report their concerns via the GSIS Contact Center at telephone 8-847-4747. A GSIS call center agent will be on hand to address their concerns.

Macasaet further stressed that GSIS has an existing “file anywhere” policy. “Government agencies based in Quezon City can submit their claims to GSIS Bulacan, and GSIS Bulacan will be able to process their claims.

Individual members can also apply for a loan in any of our branches or GWAPS kiosks nearest them. Almost all of our systems and processes in GSIS are automated and computerized, and this allows us to provide our pensioners and members ‘anytime-anywhere’ access to our services,” he said.