ILOILO CITY — The Social Security System (SSS) disbursed a total of P132.89 million for salary loans of nearly 10,200 members in Western Visayas during the first quarter of this year, a five percent increase from its P126.89 million loan release for the same period in 2011.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. said a total of P122.36 million, or 92 percent of the salary loan releases in the region, were intended for 8,900 member-employees.

Salary loans are granted as a privilege of actively-paying SSS members. We thus, encourage members to ensure their regular payment of contributions to become eligible for SSS salary loans when they face times of emergencies and financial need,” he said.

Members with a minimum of 36 contributions and at least six premiums within the 12-month period prior to application qualify for a one-month salary loan, which is payable through 24 equal monthly installments. Those with at least 72 contributions are eligible for a two-month loan.

De Quiros and top SSS officials are in the city for consultation meetings with employers, pensioners and workers’ groups to gather direct feedback on SSS initiatives, such as the ongoing Loan Penalty Condonation Program.

The six-month condonation program, which opened for availment last April 2, offers delinquent borrowers a prime opportunity to settle their overdue loans at discounted penalties of 50 to 100 percent and ensure their entitlement to the full amount of SSS benefits in the future.

“Over a thousand members in Western Visayas with a combined loan delinquency of about P17 million have applied for the condonation program so far. We hope other borrowers will file their applications before the program ends on September 30 this year,” he added.

The program covers delinquent borrowers whose employers failed to remit their loan payments to SSS (situation 1A); beneficiaries of members who died with unpaid loans (situation 1B); those with at least three paid amortizations (situation 2); and members filing retirement or total disability claims within the availment period (situation 3).

Members have the option to pay in full or settle in monthly installments of up to 36 months. Meanwhile, beneficiaries of deceased delinquent borrowers can apply for the condonation program until March 31, 2013, de Quiros said.

The agency has 2.15 million members under its Western Visayas Division, which supervises SSS branches in the cities of Bacolod, Bago, Bais, Dumaguete, Kabankalan, Sagay, San Carlos, Victorias, Iloilo and Roxas and in the towns of Kalibo (Aklan) and San Jose (Antique).