Press Release
February 22, 2021

SB No. 2027: Deferring SSS contribution increase
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto
22 February 2021

Mr. President, my dear colleagues:

In fighting the pandemic, we used the circuit breaker approach, where movement of people is stopped, stores are shuttered, and commerce is shut down to stop the spread of the virus.

To help families with their house rent, we suspended its collection.

For bank customers, we froze interest on loans. For bank owners, we gave tax breaks on the disposal of assets from soured loans.

For businesses, small and big, we just passed the biggest tax cut in history, in the hope that savings will protect payroll and not pad profit.

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.

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

This bill empowers him to suspend the implementation of the scheduled one percentage point increase in the members' contribution rates this year.

The suspension, if so ordered, will be for the entire duration of the COVID public health emergency as declared under Proclamations 922 and 1021.

And while the increase is held in abeyance, there will be no deferment, decrease or denial of the benefits the SSS is supposed to give to its members.

While the bill requires him to consult with SSS and its stakeholders, I would suggest that he listens more to those who contribute to the fund than to those who manage it.

Mr. President:

If 110 million of us are crammed into this typhoon alley, dotted by volcanoes, cleaved by flooded plains, and struck by all kinds of calamities--with the exception of an asteroid hit--then this bill is an important part of our disaster response kit.

Ayudas are of two kinds: Aid from the government and suspending the dues a citizen must pay, so it will be left in their pocket to be spent for whatever will best help them cope with the calamity.

The amount may be small, but it signals a powerful message of solidarity and compassion: that when you have lost your house, your crop, your livelihood, or worst, your loved ones, government is not that insensitive to continue with its exactions.

Hindi naman po suspendido ang pagbayad sa SSS monthly. Ang pansamantalang ipinapatigil lamang ay ang dagdag na bayarin.

Hindi rin pangmatagalan, pero panandalian lang.

Kaya naman po hindi malaki ang tama sa SSS. It will not be placed in financial distress for helping those who are.

Compared to the pension's foregone losses, the lockdown measures we have imposed on our people are far more bitter and brutal.

Mayroon pa bang mas titindi sa pwersahang tigil pasada ng mga jeeps at taxis noon? Mayroon pa bang mas mahirap kaysa sa sapilitang pagsasara ng mga tindahan at malls?

Kung kinaya ng maliliit na negosyo na barya ang kita, bakit hindi kakayanin ng isang institusyon na bilyun-bilyon ang pagaari?

For these reasons, I vote yes.

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

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