By Genalyn Kabiling
The government aims to extend better social security protection to Filipinos here and abroad under a new law signed by President Duterte.
Republic Act No. 11199 or "Act rationalizing and expanding the powers and duties of the Social Security Commission to ensure long-term viability of the Social Security System" was signed by the President last February 7.
The facade of SSS Building on East Avenue in Quezon City. (JOHN JEROME GANZON / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
A copy of the "Social Security Act of 2018," which amends the 21-year-old charter of the state-run pension fund, was released to the media Monday.
"President Duterte has also pushed for a stronger Social Security System (SSS) pension fund by signing into law Republic Act No. 11199 which rationalizes the powers and duties of the Social Security Commission," Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
"The new measure empowers the SSS to increase its benefits to members, which include retirees and those who involuntary left without jobs. The law further ensures the compulsory SSS coverage in favor of our overseas Filipino workers," Panelo said.
The new law empowers the commission to raise benefits, condone penalties, rationalize investments, among others.
To strengthen the pension fund, the measure allows the gradual increase in monthly contributions from 11 percent in 2019 until it reaches 15 percent in 2025. It also provides the gradual adjustment of the minimum and maximum monthly salary credit.
The law also provides for the mandatory SSS coverage of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to ensure their social security protection "provided they are not over 60 years of age."
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) have been directed to negotiate bilateral labor agreements with OFWs' host countries to ensure the employers pay the required SSS contributions.
Of the 10 million Filipinos working abroad, around 550,000 are reportedly covered by the SSS at present.
The new law will also include unemployment insurance for SSS members who will be involuntarily displaced.