June 17, 2019
Pension loans released under the Pension Loan Program (PLP) of the Social Security System (SSS) reached more than P1 billion as of May 27.
In a statement over the weekend, SSS said a total of 41,926 pension-borrowers availed of the program since the start of its implementation last year.
SSS started offering PLP in September in 2018 in celebration of its 61st founding anniversary.
Data showed that its Bacolod branch had the most number of approved loan applications at 2,696 and the highest amount of disbursed pension loan at P56.76 million. This was followed by Diliman branch with 2,177 approved pension loan applications for P56.09 million; Cebu branch with 1,547 availees for P38.42 million; and Victorias branch in Bacolod City with 1,733 availees for P36.48 million.
Of the total number of approved loan applications, 92.16 percent preferred to pay for 12 months while 6.25 percent chose six months. The remaining 1.59 percent opted to pay for three months. In early March, SSS relaxed its guidelines for more than 1.2 million qualified retiree pensioners so those receiving monthly pension even for just a month and is already posted in the system, are qualified to avail of the loan. Previously, a retiree pensioner must be receiving his monthly pension for at least six months to qualify.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora C. Ignacio said that while the program had met its objective to provide immediate financial assistance to its pensioners for their short-term and emergency needs, pensioners should be vigilant and avoid transacting with “fixers” for their SSS transactions, especially for the PLP.
“We are pleased to note that our pensioners are now relying on SSS for their immediate financial needs instead of going to loan sharks,” Ignacio said. “But sad to say, there are people who take advantage of our pensioners during their times of need. This has to stop. And this will only stop if our pensioners will no longer entertain any deal with these individuals who exploit them,” she added.
SSS said it received an incident report last month from its Bacolod branch that 15 pensioners fell victims to unscrupulous fixers whose modus operandi was to advance portions of their approved SSS pension loan and run away with the pensioners’ cash cards.
The pensioners filed a case against the suspects with the National Bureau of Investigation last April 24. “We urge our retiree-pensioners to be vigilant. Do not transact with non-SSS employees. Those who want to avail of the pension loan must personally apply in our branch offices nationwide,” Ignacio said.
Anna Leah E. Gonzales
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