Elijah Felice Rosales – The Philippine Star
February 13, 2022 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — State-run Social Security System (SSS) is extending P105 million in refunds to more than 25,000 borrowers as part of measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pension fund manager said that it has started refunding one to two months in loan payment collected from pension loan borrowers under the pension loan program (PLP) in 2020.
The initiative launched in 2018 assists retirees with their short-term financial needs by offering a loan at an interest of 10 percent per annum.
The maximum loanable amount under the PLP is set at P200,000 per pensioner and borrowers can choose to pay the loan in six, 12 and 24 months.
SSS president and CEO Aurora Ignacio said that the refund of pension loan payments was executed in compliance with the provision of Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2).
The law mandated public and private banks, quasi-banks and lenders to give a 30-day grace period for the payment of loans without incurring any additional amount on interest, penalties and fees.
The provision covered loan payments with dues that fall within Sept.15 to Dec. 31, 2020, as Filipinos were just recovering from the height of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Ignacio explained that the state-owned provident fund will return P105 million worth of pension loan payments to at least 25,231 pension loan borrowers.
“We understand the predicament faced by our PLP borrowers, which is why they opted to file their loans to the SSS to further finance their medical and immediate financial concerns brought about by the current pandemic,” Ignacio said.
The program gives out financial assistance to retirees for their short-term requirements.
According to the SSS, pensioners who are amortizing as of the implementation date and those who began their monthly amortization in October 2020 are eligible to apply for the PLP.
Qualified retirees may get a refund for their loan payments made in November and December 2020.
On the other hand, those who only started paying their amortizations in December 2020 will only get a one-month refund.
Furthermore, the pension fund manager also extended the pensioner’s loan payment term by one or two months without any additional interest or penalty.
Ignacio said that the refund for eligible retirees would be automatically credited to their ATM card or Union Bank QuickCard savings and they need not visit an SSS branch to apply for the refund.