TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte — The Social Security System (SSS) disbursed a total of P1.42 billion for SSS salary loans of members from Southern Mindanao last year, which was 15 percent higher than the P1.23 billion released in the region in 2014.

SSS Senior Vice President for Mindanao Operations Group Eddie A. Jara said that the number of salary loan availments also recorded a double-digit increase, rising by 11 percent for a total of 102,231 members-borrowers in 2015 from 91,963 the previous year.

“SSS salary loans are privileges extended to members who religiously pay their monthly contributions. Members with a higher amount of monthly contributions are entitled to bigger loanable amounts of up to P16,000 and P32,000 for a one-month or two-month salary loan, respectively,” Jara said.

To avail themselves of SSS salary loans, members must have at least 36 monthly contributions for the one-month loan, and at least 72 monthly contributions for the two-month loan. At least six of these contributions should also fall within the 12-month period immediately preceding the month of loan application.

A total of P1.22 billion, or 86 percent of the total salary loan releases in Southern Mindanao last year, were disbursed to 83,372 borrowers who are covered as private sector employees.

SSS branches in the region also granted salary loans amounting to P154.95 million for 13,696 voluntary members, P30.37 million for 4,204 self-employed members, and P15.61 million for 959 overseas Filipino workers.

Jara reminded members to pay their salary loans on time to avoid incurring the one percent monthly penalty as well as continuing interest, which contribute to their outstanding loan balance. Unpaid SSS loan obligations are deducted from the borrower’s final benefit claims such as retirement, disability or death.

“SSS members are given two years to pay their salary loans in 24 equal monthly amortizations. They also have a two-month grace period before their payment of monthly loan amortizations is scheduled to start,” Jara explained.

Members of top SSS management headed by President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio S. de Quiros, Jr. are in the city on April 5 for the blessing of the relocated SSS Tagum branch, which now offers easier accessibility and convenience with its new location at the 2nd Level of the Gaisano Grand Mall.

Also included in the SSS delegation’s line up of activities in Tagum City on the same day are the SSS Stakeholders Forum for representatives of employers and workers, and the “Kapihan sa SSS” for members of the local media.

SSS Tagum is covered by the SSS Mindanao South 1 Division headquartered in Davao City, which also supervises the SSS Bislig, Davao, Davao-Ilustre, Digos, Mati, Panabo and Toril. Meanwhile, the SSS Mindanao South 2 Division, which is based in General Santos City, oversees the SSS Cotabato, General Santos, Kidapawan, Koronadal and Tacurong branches.