PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had signed into law bill that grants a one-time condonation of penalties on all unremitted or delinquent contributions to Social Security Systems (SSS).

Republic Act 9903 or the Social Security Condonation Law allows erring employers "remit their employees' delinquent payments for contributions without paying penalties."

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Per SSS estimate, records show P190 billion worth unremitted SSS contributions in the country and P280 billion as accrued penalties.

For 2009 alone, penalties reached P68 throughout the Philippines, SSS record showed.

SSS said they do not expect to collect because a lot of companies are hard-up. "This is our way of helping them survive," SSS said, adding that these companies should still pay their share of the premiums "so that their employees can avail themselves of the benefits under the systems."

All delinquent companies who want to avail of the benefit of the condonation must remit their contribution or at least submit a proposal to pay the same in installment, SSS said. All employers who want to avail the program are advised to visit the nearest SSS office, it added.

SSS said: "If an employer chooses to pay in installment, they must pay a down payment which should not be less than 5 percent of the total contribution delinquency."

It added that the balance should be remitted in equal monthly installments not exceeding 48 months from the date of the approval of the proposal. A 3 percent interest would be imposed on the installment payments. (Jerson O. Coronica)