The Pag-IBIG Fund branch in Puerto Princesa recorded a decrease of around 6,000 active members in 2020 due to retrenchment and closure of businesses in Palawan as an effect of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Branch officer-in-charge Emely Platero said that from 65,289 active members in 2019, the figure went down to 59,163 in 2020.

“Ibig sabihin ‘yong mga miyembro ni Pag-IBIG na active, employed ng time na ‘yan noong 2019, ngayong 2020 ay nawala na. Ibig sabihin maaaring na-retrench o nagsara na ‘yong company. Actually, maraming nag-close na companies dito kaya ‘yon ang naging reason kaya bumaba ang accomplishments namin. Nasa 6,000 halos ang nawalang membership sa amin,” she said.

Platero said the branch needs to register an additional 9,311 new members to meet the 2021 membership goal of 68,474, which would help the local branch to have a 100 percent accomplishment this year. Due to the decrease in active members, Puerto Princesa branch only recorded 97 percent accomplishment in 2020.

From 4,622 establishments in 2019, Pag-IBIG records show it went down to 3,700 in 2020 as around 248 businesses filed temporary closure, 233 permanently closed, and 441 inactive with their contributions.

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“Number one ay Puerto Princesa talaga ang mostly malaking membership ang nawala. Next na lang ang other municipalities kasi talaga sa trend natin, sa history dito sa Palawan, mas marami ang registered businesses, mas marami ang employment sa Puerto Princesa than other municipalities,” she said.

She added that Puerto Princesa still has a higher number of businesses registered with Pag-IBIG compared to tourism-dependent towns like El Nido and Coron, where there are instances when membership contributions from some establishments in are usually processed by their main office in Metro Manila.

“Kasi may cases din like Coron, ang head office nila ay Manila so hindi kami affected. Kumbaga hindi sa amin pumapasok ang membership nila, kung magsara man sila ay walang effect. Kung meron man nag-register doon ay ilan lang din kaya siguro mas masasabi ko na marami pa rin talaga ang Puerto kasi hindi sila talaga registered sa amin ‘yong karamihan sa Coron,” she said.

But even with the decrease in membership level, Platero said Pag-IBIG Puerto Princesa still performed well in terms of contribution and membership savings as it surpassed the target of P245.970 million with P284.937 million resulting to 116 percent accomplishment rate.

“Nag-exceed kami sa target. Dahil ito sa MP2 savings natin, iyon ang nakikita namin na additional savings na pumapasok sa Pag-IBIG Fund dahil sa MP2 savings program natin na marami talaga ang nagtitiwala na magtago ng pera nila sa Pag-IBIG. Kung titingnan natin pagdating sa contributions ng employers alone, medyo talaga bumaba kami doon pero dahil sa MP2 ay nahabol,” she added.

Platero admitted that the existing movement limitations due to health protocols are considered as a challenge for the local branch to meet the 2021 target in active membership.

“Si branch ay hindi lang nagtatrabaho para i-serve ang clients, kundi, nagtatrabaho tayo para i-hit ang target na sinet ng management so very challenging ang magiging trabaho ng marketing department natin dahil sila talaga ang nagka-campaign. Number one effort na lang na ginagawa namin diyan ay campaign through webinar, every day talagang nagka-campaign kami, through email and phone call, letter,” she said.

She added that through the Business One Stop Shop (BOSS) activity of the city government in January, Pag-IBIG had a chance to record additional membership in the city.

In 2021, Pag-IBIG Puerto Princesa branch has 142 newly registered businesses from Puerto Princesa.

“Ganoon pa man, we hope na may mga magko-comply pa rin hindi lang sa Puerto Princesa kahit sa mga munisipyo kasi may ibang LGUs din na mina-mandate din nila si Pag-IBIG Fund na mag-register. May ibang agencies din tayong katulong diyan, ang TIEZA, Department of Tourism kapag nagtayo ng isang resort ganyan, niri-require nila mag-register ang employers sa Pag-IBIG Fund,” she said.

The local branch will also strengthen the membership from the transportation sector particularly jeepney and multicab drivers, and Tricycle Operators and Drivers’ Association (TODA).

“Diyan kami magko-concentrate ng membership ngayon kasi magkakarugtong. Kapag naging member sila, makaka-avail sila ng benefits natin, number one pwede sila kumuha ng loyalty card plus wherein may benefits dito na rewards and discounts na ma-a-avail from our merchant partners,” she said.

After the two-year continuous contribution, they could also avail of a multi-purpose loan or calamity loan up to 80 percent of their savings.

“Positive naman kami (na ma-saturate ang transport sector) dahil may mga kausap na rin ang ating marketing department na mga TODA presidents,” she said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.