THE SOCIAL SECURITY System (SSS) will start accepting applications for condonation of penalties within six months after the measure seeking to amend its charter was enacted.
In a press briefing, SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said the state-run pension fund will accept applications to condone penalties imposed on employers due to unpaid contributions within six months from the effective date of Social Security Act of 2018.
“Once passed, within six months from its effective date, delinquent employers or employees can apply for condonation. That’s in the provisions,” Mr. Dooc told reporters on Thursday in a mix of English and Filipino.
“We are now ready for that once it gets effective. We can accept application for condonation.”
Republic Act No. 11199, which was signed into law earlier this month, allows the Social Security Commission (SSC) — the policy-making body of the SSS — to launch a condonation program without the approval of the president.
Mr. Dooc added that the SSS can start accepting applications as soon as March 5 or the first day of the effectivity of the law.
“The penalty, which used to be 3% per month, under the new law, it was reduced to 2%. But if they will avail of the…condonation… They can pay in installment but there will be a 6% interest per annum, as compared to the 2% per month penalty,” SSS Vice President of Large Accounts Division Antonio S. Argabioso explained.
He added that the condonation program will still depend on the approved implementing rules and regulations of the law.
“We don’t want to preempt our board, but I believe that they will allow installment. You can either pay in cash or apply for an installment.”
In a statement last Friday, Senator Richard J. Gordon said the ability “of the SSC to launch a condonation program without the president’s approval would enable the pension fund to generate more funds faster and ensure its long-term viability.
“Lalaki ang pondo, hahaba ang buhay ng SSS. Matutuwa ang mga negosyante dahil imbes na lumaki [nang] lumaki ang utang nila, mako-condone, magbabayad sila at makakapagsimula ulit sila (The fund life of SSS will be extended. Employers will be glad because instead of incurring more debt, it will be condoned, which will enable them to pay and start all over again),” said Mr. Gordon, who is also the author of the new measure.
The SSS launched a Loan Restructuring Program with penalty condonation in April last year to help members who have outstanding short-term obligations. During its five-month run, the pension fund generated P2 billion from nearly 300,000 participants, prompting it to extend the restructuring program until April 1, 2019.
In April 2016, the pension fund also offered a one-year restructuring program, collecting P6 billion from more than 800,000 members with past-due loans. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal