Deferment of SSS premium hike a necessary ‘circuit breaker’ during COVID-19 pandemic — Recto

Published February 23, 2021, 2:06 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has called on President Duterte to immediately suspend the increases in premium contribution of Social Security System (SSS) once the bill granting him such authority is signed into law.

Senator Ralph Recto
(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO)

Recto issued the appeal after the Senate, on Monday, February 22, approved on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 2027, which seeks to give the President the power to hold off the scheduled raise in SSS contribution for a limited period of six months.

The House of Representatives also approved a similar bill last February 1.

“If the pandemic is a continuing disaster, the playbook on how to handle it must remain a work in progress. This bill is the latest entry in our COVID response manual,” the Senate leader said in explaining his affirmative vote on the bill.

“This bill gives the President another circuit breaker power, this time on a payroll tax, also known as the SSS membership contribution.”

“And once he signs this bill into law, I urge the President to immediately pull the circuit breaker,” he added.

Recto expressed confidence that the suspension of the increase in member-contributions will not significantly affect the SSS. The state-run insurance firm was opposed to the deferment, warning it will put more strain in its “already dire financial position.”

“Hindi naman po suspendido ang pagbayad sa SSS monthly. Ang pansamantalang ipinapatigil lamang ay ang dagdag na bayarin. Hindi rin pangmatagalan, pero panandalian lang (We will not suspend the monthly payments to the SSS. What we will be suspending is the additional charges. This will not be permanent but only a temporary measure),” he said.

“Kaya naman po hindi malaki ang tama sa SSS (That’s why it will not affect the SSS badly). It will not be placed in financial distress for helping those who are,” he added.

Under the Republic Act No. 11199, or the Social Securuty Act of 2018, a one-percent increase in the contribution of members shall be imposed on SSS members every two years starting 2019 until 2025.

This means form the current 12 percent in 2020, the monthly contribution rate shall be increased to 13 percent beginning January this year.

The additional contribution ranges between P15 to P100 for employed members, and between P30 to P200 for self-employed and voluntary members. Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), meanwhile, will see an increase in contribution ranging from P80 to P200.