The Social Security System (SSS) has granted partial to full amnesty on loan penalties to 58,995 delinquent borrowers who availed themselves of the agency’s Loan Penalty Condonation Program, which is now halfway through its six-month implementation.

According to SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr., the pension fund recorded a corresponding total amount due of P748.03 million in principal, interest and collectible penalties since the Condonation Program started last April 2, 2012. Penalties condoned amounted to P426.83 million.

Members only have three months left to apply for amnesty before it ends on September 30. Otherwise, they’ll have to pay the full amount of penalties, making it much harder for them to settle their loan obligations and risk having these deducted from their future benefits,” he said.

The SSS waives 50 to 100 percent of penalties incurred by members availing themselves of the program. Full payments from 35,644 borrowers reached P378.44 million and SSS stands to collect P369.58 million from 23,351 members who have started their monthly amortization, based on total availments as of July 2.

De Quiros said the SSS posted an average of 19,665 availments per month under the current program. It was higher than the monthly average of 11,903 availments under the past four implementations of its amnesty on loan penalties for individual members, which spanned a total of 63 months within September 2003 to October 2009.

“The rate of availments increased despite conditions such as varying rates of condonable penalties and required number of amortizations and contributions to qualify for condonation in the current program. In the past, SSS had no eligibility requirements and waived all penalties of those who applied for the program,” he said.

Six out of every ten borrowers who applied for condonation chose to make full payments, which indicates growing awareness among members of the immediate need to settle unpaid loan obligations and the advantages of taking the opportunity offered by SSS, de Quiros noted.

“Those who cannot afford to outright payments may still avail themselves of the program at lighter terms. Members have the option to pay in equal monthly installments spanning 12, 24 or 36 months with a minimal annual interest rate of three percent,” he said.

The program is open to members whose loan payments were unremitted by their employers (Situation 1-A) and borrowers with at least three paid amortizations and a minimum of three contributions within the six-month period prior to application for amnesty (Situation 2).

De Quiros said delinquent borrowers filing retirement or total disability claims until September 30 this year can also apply for penalty condonation under Situation 3.

“Apart from members, beneficiaries of borrowers who died without paying their SSS loan obligations are also eligible for the program under Situation 1-B. Beneficiaries can file their application for condonation along with their death benefit claims until March 13, 2013,” he added.

The amnesty program waives penalties that have accrued as of April 1, 2012. The rate of condonable penalties are 100 percent for Situations 1-A and 1-B; 90 percent for full payments and 80 percent for installment payments under Situation 2; and 50 percent for Situation 3.