Business, labor groups ask SSS to defer premium hike

Published January 19, 2021, 6:30 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Business and labor groups have asked the Social Security System to defer premium hike until the new law is adopted.

This the position of The Leaders Forum (LF), a national bipartite committee composed of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. epresenting the employers, and the Federation of Free Workers, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines representing the labor sector.

This developed as the group also welcomed the temporary suspension of PhilHealth contribution hike and reiterate their call for the government to suspend the imposition of the 1 percent SSS premium increase.

“As we are all well aware, workers and employers, both contributors to the funds, are still suffering from the debilitating effects and threats of the COVID-19 pandemic. A suspension of the increase is one of the immediate interventions that government can provide to the economy and its stakeholders as we all try to recover from this crisis,” the group said in a statement.

The groups said the increases are untimely since millions of workers have lost their jobs or have been asked to report for work sparingly with many companies either on skeletal working arrangements or have temporarily or permanently shut down.

The PhilHealth adjustment is also inappropriate, considering that Management has not accounted for the millions of pesos in funds allegedly used in dubious transactions, per Commission on Audit findings. Until these issues are cleared and addressed, we find no moral ground for the rate hike, collections from which may again be lost to the same corrupt practices.

Thus, the Leaders Forum expressed support the bills filed by Sen. Joel Villanueva, TUCP Party-List Rep. Raymond Mendoza nd Cong. Lord Allan Velasco seeking deferment of the proposed increases in the midst of the pandemic

Meanwhile, in contrast to the moves of PhilHealth and SSS, the Leaders Forum lauded the Pag-IBIG Fund officials under Chairperson Ed Del Rosario for their swift and timely decision to postpone the hike in Pag-IBIG Fund contribution which would have been effective on January 1.

 In addition, the group said that relevant to the issues of accountability and transparency they urged  President Rodrigo Duterte to review his appointees in tripartite bodies, particularly in the SSS Commission, the PhilHealth Board, Employees Compensation Commission (ECC), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Board of Trustees, among others, so as to ensure genuine representation of workers and employers in these institutions as mandated by their respective charters and RA 10395 or the Tripartism Law.