State-run Social Security System (SSS) and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) bought a combined total of P385.089 million worth of stocks on the last trading day of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) before the entire Luzon island was placed on enhanced community quarantine.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez said SSS and GSIS on Monday bought P245.089 million and P140 million, respectively.
This, after Dominguez directed both agencies to “take advantage of low stock prices, as well as to support the stock market by at least doubling their average purchase volumes last year.”
Earlier, Dominguez said SSS’ estimated average daily buying in the PSE for March 2019 was P55.5 million.
Despite this, the benchmark PSE index fell 458.57 points, or about 8 percent to close at 5,335.37 points—a new seven-year low.
The last time it touched the said range was on October 1, 2012, when it closed at 5,308.52 points, according to PSE data.
The surprise rate cut by the US Federal Reserve was not able to lift investor sentiment.
The US Fed slashed its rate to near zero over the weekend, which surprised the market, and will buy $700 billion worth of Treasury bonds and other mortgage backed security.
On Tuesday, GSIS said in a public advisory that its head office, Quezon City Branch Office and all of its branch or extension offices located in Luzon shall be closed to the public until April 12. Senior executives, department heads and branch managers of GSIS are instructed to implement work from home and or rotational duty assignments for their respective personnel at their own discretion, subject to GSIS Business Continuity Plan and guidelines set by the Civil Service Commission on alternative working arrangements.
Despite the lockdown, GSIS assured the public that they will continue to accept loan applications via GSIS Wireless Automated Processing System and pension payments shall, likewise, be credited to old-age and survivorship pensioners during the first week of the month, as usual.
However, GSIS operations like filing and processing of retirement/separation benefit claims, nonlife insurance claims, GSIS Financial Assistance Loan applications; processing of requests for renewal of active status of pensioners residing locally and abroad, as well as enrollment of members and releasing of GSIS Unified Multipurpose ID eCards, are temporarily suspended.
Moreover, a month’s extension is granted on all premium remittances, loan payments, housing loan amortization payments and rental payments for GSIS investment properties due this March. Payments for these transactions may be settled on or before May 10 without penalty.
Unless a state of emergency is declared by the local government wherein a GSIS branch is located and/or unless certain employees have close physical contact with a Covid-19 positive person or are showing symptoms of Covid-19, all GSIS personnel in the Visayas and Mindanao shall continue to report for work to provide pension and loan services to members and pensioners in the area.