State-run Social Security Sytem (SSS) posted a significant development in its pension loan program (PLP), hitting the P1.0 billion mark with almost 42,000 availees since its initial implementation on September year-ago.
“As of 27 May, PLP releases reached P1.006 billion with 41,926 pensioner-borrowers for the nearly eight-month period of its implementation,” the SSS said.
Data from the pension fund said that Bacolod branch recorded the highest the number of approved applications with 2,696 loans and P56.76 million worth of disbursed pension loans. This was followed by Diliman branch with 2,177 approved loan applications for P56.09 million.
In terms of the preferred tenure of payment, majority of the pensioners reaching 92.16 percent opted to pay their pension loan for 12 months followed by some 6.25 percent who chose to settle their debt within six months while the remaining 1.59 percent decided to complete their obligations within three months.
Moreover, the pension fund relaxed its PLP application guidelines in March this year, which made the program easier for interested pensioners.
Prior to this, a retiree pensioner must be receiving his monthly pension for at least six months but under the new guidelines, those who are receiving monthly pension even for just a month and is already posted in the system, can enjoy the PLP.
Meanwhile, SSS President and CEO Aurora Ignacio expressed her concern that while the PLP has met its objective, the so-called fixers are taking advantage of the pensioners thus, reminding members to always be vigilant and avoid transacting with such.
“We are pleased to note that our pensioners are now relying on SSS for their immediate financial needs instead of going to loan sharks. But sad to say, there are people who take advantage of our pensioners during their times of need,” Ignacio said.
“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.
According to the pension fund, its Bacolod branch, which registered the highest approved applications, reported 15 pensioners who fell victim to fixers whose modus operandi was to advance portions of the pensioners approved loan then ran away with their cash cards.
“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,” the SSS chief said.