THE Social Security System (SSS) announced a new amnesty program for business owners that failed to remit their employees' loan amortizations due on or before April 1 this year, an SSS official said.

SSS assistant vice president for Southern Mindanao Cluster, Atty. Emmanuel R. Palma said the new amnesty complements an ongoing program condoning penalties on delinquent contributions of employers.

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"The amnesty on loan penalties was approved by Malacañang on June 3 upon the recommendation of the Social Security Commission in a letter to former President Arroyo dated March 29," he said.

"The two programs will run for six months but the availment period will start after publication of the program's guidelines through an SSS circular, which will be issued this month," Palma added.

Employers with unpaid contributions must first settle their overdue SSS premiums by paying in full or submitting an installment proposal on or before July 31 to be eligible for loan amnesty.

SSS members who are employed make up 83 percent of the 6.8 million delinquent short-term loan accounts such as salary, calamity, emergency, educational, study now-pay-later, vocational/technical, Y2k, stock investment and privatization fund loans.

The SSS has collected a total of P168.8 million in late contribution payments through its amnesty program, P90.65 million of which from encashed checks and P78.15 million in cash as of May 15.