STATE-run Social Security System (SSS) on Monday said it has collected P212.88 million from more than 2,000 employers who availed of the amnesty on unpaid contributions.

SSS officer-in-charge Horacio Templo said the six-month amnesty period was extended until August 2 from its original July 31 deadline because it falls on a Saturday.

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"But employers must not wait until the deadline to avoid the last-minute rush," he said in a statement. "If they wait too long, they might miss this rare opportunity to have all their penalties condoned once they settle their long-overdue obligations."

The agency said it will not hesitate in filing cases against employers who still commit non-remittance of contributions, which is punishable by imprisonment of six to 12 years under its charter.

Luzon-based employers cornered 48 percent of the 2,089 total availment all over the Philippines. But payments from the National Capital Region (NCR) amounted to P123.57 million or 58 percent of collections.

"Employers in Luzon paid an average of P52,151, the lowest in the country, while those in NCR remitted the highest average payment of P214,897 based on figures as of June 15," said Templo.

The new loan amnesty, guidelines of which were published last week through an SSS circular, allows employers to remit their employees’ unpaid loan principal and interest due on or before April 1, 2010 without paying penalties.

The same report revealed that around 1,200 employers, 692 of which are from Luzon, coursed through P111.21 million in full payments, and P101.67 million from encashed checks of 909 employers who opted for a 48-month installment scheme.

To qualify for the program, employers must be up-to-date in paying contributions to be eligible for the agency’s new amnesty on penalties on delinquent loan amortizations of employees.

“Employers must first settle their overdue contributions and verify the total loan delinquency of their employees at the SSS branch nearest them before availing of loan amnesty," he said.

The SSS charges monthly penalties of three percent for overdue contributions and one percent for delinquent loans.

The loan amnesty covers short-term SSS member loans such as salary, calamity, emergency, stock investment and privatization fund loans. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)