The Social Security System (SSS) has generated an income of P274.5 million during the first six months this year from the lease and sale of SSS-owned real estate properties such as residential and commercial lots, condominium units, buildings and parking lots, with year-end earnings seen to surpass P1.2 billion.

May Catherine Ciriaco, SSS Senior Vice President and Concurrent Officer-in-Charge of the Lending and Asset Management Division, said the earnings were mainly derived from leasing SSS investment properties with a combined value of P12.7 billion, which accounted for majority of the P17.9-billion total.

The SSS expects to generate additional earnings of P289 million in the remaining months of 2015 from the continuing lease of these assets, and P696.5 million more from the sale of SSS investment properties scheduled in the second half of this year, for a year-end total income of at least P1.2 billion.

“Contrary to recent news reports, SSS assets for the most part have not remained idle, for about 70 percent of our P17.9-billion investment properties have been on lease and are bringing in regular income for the SSS. The rest of SSS assets are either for sale, or are retained as SSS property due to their expected increase in value,” Ciriaco said.

SSS real estate properties scheduled for bidding before the end of 2015 include condominium units and parking lots in Bella Villa and Pioneer Highlands, as well as SSS-acquired lots in Marilao, Villa Josefina, Zamboanga and Manila Harbour.

“Meanwhile, as part of the pension fund’s long-term strategy, the SSS intends to maintain its ownership of select prime properties, such as Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City and East Triangle in Quezon City, given the expected appreciation in their real estate value,” Ciriaco explained.

Scheduled for sale through bidding next year are SSS investment properties in Bayview, Urdaneta, Pryce Tower – Davao, Pryce Center – Makati and E. Ganzon, as well as SSS-acquired lots in Northfields. The properties for sale next year have a total appraised value of at least P253.6 million.

Ciriaco noted that the state-run agency is already addressing the Commission on Audit’s (COA) observations cited in recent reports regarding SSS’ lost potential income last year of P198.1 million from its failure to rent out real estate properties such as condominium units.

“The SSS has already received COA’s unqualified opinion attesting to the fairness of the financial statement submitted by SSS for 2014. Measures intended to maximize SSS income from its real estate properties are already underway,” Ciriaco said, adding that “even if the SSS has not rented out certain properties, the SSS has already registered gains from their appreciating value.”