The Social Security System on Tuesday appealed to the Senate not to pass a measure suspending the scheduled increase in SSS contribution rate of its members.
During a public hearing by the Senate government corporations committee, SSS President Aurora Ignacio that SSS needs to increase its contribution rate so as not to imperil its grant of benefits to its members now and the next generation of members.
The next generation is 30 years to 40 years starting now.
If SSS contribution rate is not increased, Ignacio warned, SSS will incur P14.9 billion deficit this year.
Ignacio explained that the financial status of SSS is not stable as it has trillions of pesos worth of unfunded liability (loans without funds.)
She said SSS has increased 25 times SSS pension benefits but only increased its contribution rate eight times.
Ignacio cited the P1,000 increase of monthly benefits in 2017, expansion of maternity benefit covering 105 days in 2019 and the setting of an insurance premium although there are no added funds for this.
The SSS chief stressed that those who do not have work or businesses have closed are not obligated to pay SSS contributions.
Under current laws, SSS increased its member contribution from 12 percent to 13 percent of salaries.
Senators Joel Villanueva, Richard J, Gordon and Ramon ‘’Bong’’ Revilla Jr. filed bills seeking the suspension of the scheduled mandated increase in SSS contribution rate because of the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Villanueva, chairman of the Senate labor committee, said the bill seeks to provide a reprieve to our battle-weary workers and employers through the suspension of the mandated increase in social security contribution rate in the event of a pandemic.
He cited October 2020 Labor Force Survey which stated that the unemployment rate in the country is at 8.7 percent, equivalent to around 3.8 million unemployed Filipinos. This is significantly higher than the unemployment rate in October 2019, which was only at 4.6 percent.
‘’But an SWS survey report in August 2020 highlighted an even “bleaker picture” on the country’s employment crisis, with around 27.3 million Filipinos or 45.5 percent of the labor force losing their jobs during the pandemic,’’ he added.
‘’’Please allow me to state that Senate Bill 1965, together with the other bills on the agenda today, are yet another “coronavirus response measures” and hence must be dealt with utmost urgency,’’’ Villanueva explained.