Vote-buying threatens Firmalo win

Vote-buying threatens Firmalo win

Romblom gubernatorial candidate Dr. Eduardo Firmalo (Center with microphone/Photo courtesy of Philippine Star)

The Lastmohican
By Mario F. Fetalino Jr. | Guest Columnist

I’m still in Odiongan, Romblon as of this writing. In fact, I’m in the beautiful barangay of Budiong where many great Fetalinos could be found.

A lot has changed in this wonderful place since the last time I was here 20 years ago. For one, nobody drinks tuba here anymore. Alfonso is now the favorite drink of the clan.

My adopted and very beloved sister Erma Fetalino passed away last week. Despite my uncompromising schedule, I took the Montenegro boat from Batangas to Batiano, Odiongan to pay my last respects to her.

As some say, family reunions nowadays happen because of two reasons — ‘binyagan’ and ‘lamayan’. And of course, hindi masaya ang pagtitipon kung walang inuman.

At dahil panahon ngayon ng halalan, hindi maiwasan mapag-usapan ang pulitika. I was glad to find out the Fetalino clan is solid behind the candidacy of Romblom gubernatorial candidate Dr. Eduardo Firmalo.

Firmalo is once again gunning for the top provincial post to stamp out corruption in the local government — an issue allegedly hounding his political rivals.

Support for the charming doctor is deeply rooted in his many years of public service to many Romblomanons especially Odionganons who benefitted from Firmalo’s pro bono medical service.

Most importantly, Firmalo is recognized for his honest and productive leadership when he was still governor of Romblon.

However, threatening his mission to restore good governance is his opponents’ wealth which is believed to be used to buy votes during the polls.

Therefore, Firmalo’s hope hinges on the intelligent Romblanons who will not take money in exchange for their future.

State pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) set aside more than P511 million under the Ginhawa for All Emergency loan for its active members as well as old-age and disability pensioners in Davao del Norte province and the municipality of Montevista in Davao de Oro.

GSIS opened the loan window until May 7, 2022, to help over 25,000 affected members and pensioners in the said areas which were declared under a state of calamity due to the massive flooding brought by continuous heavy rains. The flooding damaged houses, crops, properties, critical facilities, and infrastructures.

The emergency loan is payable in 36 equal monthly installments with a 6% interest rate. It also has a loan redemption insurance that deems the loan fully paid, in case of the borrower’s demise, provided the loan payment is up to date.

To qualify, active members must be residing or working in the calamity areas, not be on leave of absence without pay, have no pending administrative case or criminal charge, and have at least three monthly premium payments within the last six months prior to application; and have a net take­home pay not lower than the amount required under the General Appropriations Act after all monthly obligations have been deducted. Members who have emergency loans that have been unpaid for 6 months or less (in arrears) or more than 6 months (already due and demandable) may apply for an emergency loan renewal.

Old-age and disability pensioners residing in the 2 areas may also avail of the loan as long as their resulting net monthly pension after the loan availment is at least 25% of their basic monthly pension.

The loan application may be filed through the GSIS Touch mobile app, Electronic GSIS Member Online (eGSISMO) facility, or GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System (GWAPS) kiosk; emailed to the GSIS handling branch, or placed in drop boxes located in lobbies of GSIS offices, or submitted over the counter at any GSIS office.

The GSIS Touch may be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store. EGSISMO may be accessed through the link and by signing up using the member’s GSIS Business Partner Number (which may be obtained from their office’s agency authorized officer or electronic remittance file handler, any GSIS office, or GSIS Contact Center).

Active members may apply using their UMID card through the GWAPS kiosks located in all GSIS branch and extension offices; provincial capitols; city halls; selected municipal offices; large government agencies such as the Department of Education; Robinsons Malls; and selected SM City branches in North EDSA, Manila, Pampanga, Cebu, SM Aura in Taguig and Mall of Asia in Pasay.

The proceeds will be directly credited to the borrower’s Unified Multi-Purpose ID card or temporary eCard Plus account.

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