Press Release
February 10, 2021

HONTIVEROS: Postponement of SSS rate hike must not jeopardize maternity, other benefits

Senator Risa Hontiveros has sought assurance that the postponement of Social Security System's (SSS) contribution rate hike should not compromise the benefits that workers in the formal economy are currently enjoying.

"Sa panahon ngayon, kailangang-kailangan ng bawat manggagawa na may sasalo sa kanila. I understand why we need this measure, but I also want us to be sure that the benefits for the workers in the formal economy will not be jeopardized if the new contribution rates are deferred," she said,l during the period of interpellation on Republic Act No. 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018.

The state-run social insurance program is set to implement its 1 percentage point hike this year, increasing the previous 12% deduction from the members salaries to 13% this year. The proposed amendment, however, seeks to grant power to the president to defer increases in contributions during national emergency or state of calamity.

Hontiveros said that while she supports the measure, there must be funding enough to support benefits and loans that may be given to its members, such as the maternity package, as well as the additional P1,000 for social pension for retired members.

"Bilang author ng Expanded Maternity Leave Law, gusto kong siguraduhin na hindi masasakripisyo ang makukuhang cash benefit ng mga kababaihang nagdadalang-tao. May assurance din po ba tayo na ang maternity benefits ay patuloy pa ring maibibigay ng SSS?," she asked.

"May assurance din ba tayo na matatanggap pa rin ang naunang dagdag na P1000 na pension kahit mayroon tayong ganitong deferment ng bagong rates? Kakayanin din bang matupad ang pangako ng administrasyon sa ating mga pensioners na ang second tranch na P1,000 na pension increase ay maiaabot sa kanila bago matapos ang termino ng Presidente?," Hontiveros added.

Hontiveros also highlighted the importance of granting the unemployment cash benefit that will serve as income security for displaced and retrenched employees.

"Around 420,000 workers were laid off in 2020. If, say, half of them are entitled to unemployment benefit and another 100,000 eligible members will lose their jobs this 2021, will the SSS be able to pay what is due them? Can they assure that they would have no problem settling claims of this magnitude?" Hontiveros asked.

"Iba ang naging projection noong ginagawa pa lang ang Implementing Rules and Regulations ng 2018 SSS Law. Now, a reduction in their projected revenues could really create the fear of a strain on the cash of the SSS, lalo na ngayon at napakaraming nawalan ng trabaho dahil sa pandemya," she added.

"I wish to support the bill, because we all know that our workers are facing rising food and transport costs. But our workers and our pensioners also need the SSS today, perhaps more than ever. At the end of the day, dapat matibay ang safety net na sasalo sa mga manggagawa sa panahong ito," she concluded.

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