Employers' group appeals to Duterte for deferment of SSS contribution hike

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 23 2020 10:00 PM | Updated as of Dec 23 2020 10:20 PM

MANILA - The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) is appealing to President Rodrigo Duterte to postpone the scheduled hike in monthly contributions to the Social Security System come January 2021.

ECOP President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said they have raised their appeal to Duterte, since the SSS contribution hike is mandated by law.

"Kami, nag-a-appeal din, kung mapagbibigyan, pati kay Presidente, kung puwedeng ma-postpone. Bigyan na muna ng exemption ang SSS na 'wag na munang i-ano. Tutal lahat naman, nai-postpone na natin," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo on Wednesday.

(We have appealed, even to the President, for the increase to be postponed.)

Ortiz-Luis cited several adjustments the government made in terms of collections and payments to help Filipinos cope with the effects of the pandemic, such as deferment in loan payment and interest collections.

"Tutal lahat naman, nai-postpone na natin... Kaya lang, kailangan talaga ng authority. Kaya baka si Presidente ay puwedeng tumulong, para ang SSS naman, eh gusto man nila, eh mandated sila by law," he added.

(We have postponed a lot anyway... There has to be an authority for this. Maybe, the President can help. The SSS may want to help, but they can't since the contributions hike is mandated by law.)

Ortiz-Luis said deferring the increase in contributions will help not only the employers, but workers as well.

"Sana kahit 'yun man lang, mapagbigyan. Tutal, deferment lang naman ang hinihingi namin eh. Hindi naman magiging masyadong kritical sa SSS 'yun," he said.

(I hope they can grant this. We are just asking for a deferment, which may not be critical for SSS.)

"Pero malaking bagay sa mga maliliit na empleyado at sa mga maliliit na ano (negosyo)," he said.

(But this will be a big help to employees and small businesses.)

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By January 2021, monthly contributions to SSS will rise to 13 percent from the current 12-percent contribution drawn from members' salaries.

Social Security Commission (SSC) Chairman and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said the rate increase will secure the long-term viability of the pension fund, and expand coverage and benefits for members and their beneficiaries as provided for under Republic Act No. 11199 or the Social Security Act (SSA) of 2018.

SSS distributed P159.47 billion in social security and benefits from January to October to a total of 3.56 million members and beneficiaries -- a 2.6-percent decrease as disbursements were slowed at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employer groups have called on SSS and Philhealth to delay the contribution hikes to provide relief for Filipinos as the COVID-19 pandemic left 4.5 million people jobless, and others with lower incomes and shortened work hours.