Lawmaker knocks prospective hike in SSS members’ contribution

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An SSS member about to process paperwork at the central office in Quezon City. Photographed by Bernard Testa, News5 | InterAksyon

MANILA, Philippines – Bayan Muna partylist Representative Carlos Zarate scored the Social Security System (SSS) for raising anew the possibility of an increase in the members’ contribution as a way to shore up its funds.

Zarate said the state-run SSS should, instead, run after delinquent companies and employers who are not paying the premiums of their workers, and immediately implement reforms.

“But for token photo opportunities in going after delinquent employers, hanggang ngayon naman ay hindi pa rin siniseryoso ng SSS Board na ayusin ang kanilang koleksyon at habulin ang mga delinkwenteng mga amo, tapos contribution increase na naman ang solusyon (Up to now the SSS board has not been serious in fixing the collection shortfalls and run after the delinquent accounts. Instead, they prefer to resort to the easy fix of bumping up contribution rates),” Zarate said.

With the proper reforms get put in place in the next few years, the lawmaker said, “there may not be a need for hiking contributions. That is, if SSS does its job well.”

Zarate proposed the following reforms:

  • Improve its collection efficiency from the employers of its 31 million members
  • Collect the billions in contributions that delinquent employers failed to remit in the last 10 years
  • Cut down bonuses and perks given to board members and collect the over PhP200 million disallowed retirement package granted to SSS board members in 2009
  • Collect the fines imposed by the courts against employers who violated the SSS law

Last week, SSS president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Dooc raised the plan to increase members’ contribution by next year.

Social Security Commission chairman Amado Valdez, however, clarified that such plan would be the last option among the measures to be undertaken to extend the actuarial life of the state-run pension fund.

Valdez had said that SSS is also looking at the possibility of investing in public-private partnership projects to boost revenue.