SSS assures better services for members
This is in response to Dennis Williams’ letter (“Special perks for SSS staff but none for SSS members,” Inquirer, 9/14/12).
Williams said: “[M]any SSS chief executive officers have come and gone, but not one of them lifted a finger to increase the maximum amount of the SSS personal loan.”
The Social Security System (SSS) is allowed under its charter to allot up to 10 percent of its Investment Reserve Fund (IRF) for short-term member loans. However, in the past several years, the percentage of short-term loans in the IRF exceeded the 10-percent limit, mainly due to the high incidence of members’ loan payment delinquency. This is one of the major reasons why SSS limits the maximum loanable amount to P24,000.
Nevertheless, SSS continues to provide salary loans as a form of assistance to qualified members, as well as to find ways to enhance the salary loan program, particularly to ease the manner by which members can avail themselves of salary loans in times of need. Meanwhile, current initiatives, such as the Loan Penalty Condonation Program, aim to address the problem of loan delinquency.
Williams added that last Sept. 5, President Aquino awarded each of the officers and employees of SSS a P10,000-bonus “in recognition of good management and the growth of SSS’ pension funds while only SSS pensioners were allowed to make a calamity loan… How about us active members?”
In the aftermath of the recent floods, SSS offered a relief package to both active members and pensioners in declared calamity areas. For pensioners, SSS offered to advance three months’ worth of pensions; for active members, it opened the Salary Loan Early Renewal Program (SLERP) so that even current borrowers can renew their loans ahead of the two-year amortization period. We further relaxed the SLERP’s terms to accommodate members with sanctions on loan renewals due to their availment of the condonation program.
We must bear in mind that members’ contributions are primarily earmarked for members’ benefits, in line with SSS’ role as a social security institution. SSS’ short-term loans are extended as a privilege of its active members and as one of the investment options allowed under our charter.
The SSS workforce earned the bonus, as President Aquino said, for its efforts to grow the funds of members. We cite as examples our P18.7-billion net income from January to June 2012. This is 42 percent higher than the earnings for the same period last year, due to measures established to ensure efficient operations, enhance investment performance, and intensify coverage and collection activities. These measures also helped slow down operating expenses in the first half of 2012 to P3.57 billion, which is 5 percent less than the P3.75 billion spent from January to June 2011.
We acknowledge that there is room for improvement in our operations, and the SSS workforce remains committed to improve its services for Williams and the millions of members both here and abroad.
—MARISSU G. BUGANTE,
Public Affairs and
Special Events Division,
Social Security System
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