MANILA – Around 20 percent of the PHP55 billion arrears by employers and employees in the private sector are projected to be covered under the latest round of Social Security System (SSS) condonation program.

“Total amount of delinquencies is about PHP55 billion and at least 20 percent of that PHP55 billion are penalties to be condoned,” SSS senior vice president Mario Sibucao said in a virtual briefing on Thursday.

He, however, pointed out that the final amount to be condoned would depend on whether the more than 700,000 employers are qualified under the condonation program.

Employers who are qualified to apply for the condonation program are those whose businesses are affected by the pandemic and calamity.

Employees whose livelihood are affected by the crisis are also qualified to apply for the program.

The latest condonation program aims to help both the employers and employees who are affected by the pandemic, SSS president and chief executive officer Aurora Ignacio said.

She said the pandemic has burdened SSS members’ ability to pay their contributions and loans.

Amid this development, SSS EVP Rizaldy Capulong said SSS’ fund life remains strong even as expenditures as of August have surpassed contributions collections.

He said total contributions collected by the state-owned insurance agency for the private sector have reached PHP155.59 billion as of August.

On the other hand, spending has reached PHP159.6 billion, of which PHP154 billion was accounted for by benefits extended to members while PHP4 billion is for expenses, he said.

“However, because we have investment income of about PHP20 billion, that PHP4 billion difference has been provided for,” he said.

Capulong said SSS also has reserves that can be used if the contributions collections and investment income are not enough for its total expenses.

“So far, if we add our contributions and our investment income, that is still higher than our expenditures. So, we have not used our reserves yet,” he said.

SSS officials expect the agency’s investment income to reach PHP22.2 billion by September and this will come from earnings from government securities, salary loans, equities, corporate and bond loans, and properties.

Citing a 2019 report on the agency’s actuarial life, Capulong said SSS has a fund life of until 2054.

“Hopefully the impact of the pandemic will not be too long,” he added.

The agency’s benefits disbursement increased during the pandemic to address the needs of its members. (PNA)