Congress transmits amended SSS charter to Duterte for signature 

Credit to Author: The Manila Times| Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2019 04:34:45 +0000

AN enrolled bill seeking to overhaul the Social Security System’s (SSS) charter has been transmitted to Malacañang for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature, Sen. Richard Gordon said on Monday.

Gordon, chairman of the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises and author and sponsor of Senate Bill 1753, said once signed into law, both land-based and sea-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) would be covered, “provided that they are not over 60 years of age.

Emmanuel Dooc, SSS president and chief executive officer, said previously that the enrolled bill, signed by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto 3rd and Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is expected to generate P16 billion in premium collections in a year.

He said the adjustments would be able to help extend the fund life of the SSS.

The bill will repeal the 21-year old Social Security Law, or Republic Act 1161, as amended by Republic Act 8282 and expand the powers of the SSS to ensure the long-term viability of the system.

In particular, the amendment aims to empower the SSS to increase benefits, condone penalties, and rationalize investments, among others.

The bill will ensure the mandatory SSS coverage for OFWs.

Gordon said the move may help expand the number of OFWs with SSS coverage from 500,000 OFW members to 2.5 million members.

It also provides unemployment insurance for SSS members who will be displaced involuntarily.

One of the main provisions of the bill seeks to increase the contribution of SSS members by one percentage point every other year starting 2019 until the current rate of 11 percent rises to 15 percent by 2025. It will also adjust the minimum and maximum salary credit of members.

The measure will also give SSS the power to determine the salary credit and monthly contributions of members, which will allow it to increase contributions “depending on the actuarial survey.”

Gordon said the expanded powers were needed since it would allow the SSS management to increase the salary credit and contribution of employees “considering that at present it is only limited to P16,000, which yields very little benefit.”

At the same time, the SSS will also be empowered to invest its Reserve Funds to “grow the wealth of SSS and ultimately yield higher income.”

“The SSS must be given a chance to do what they can for the people because the government could not base its policies on fear but on trusting the people, especially those with tremendous responsibility,” he said.

Congress approved the bicameral report on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill 1753 and House Bill 2158 in December. The Senate version of the bill was passed on third and final reading last October 8, 2018. JAVIER JOE ISMAEL


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