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SSS to raise members’ contributions next year

In an interview Friday night, SSS president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Dooc said the proposed hike in members’ contributions would be rolled out next year, after it gets the needed amendments in its charter, in time for the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN). File

MANILA, Philippines —  State-run Social Security System (SSS) will push through with the planned increase in its members’ contributions in 2018, a year after President Duterte granted a P1,000 hike in benefits to its pensioners.

In an interview Friday night, SSS president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Dooc said the proposed hike in members’ contributions would be rolled out next year, after it gets the needed amendments in its charter, in time for the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act (TRAIN).

A bill seeking to amend the SSS Charter, as provided in Republic Act 1161 or the Social Security Act, is currently being deliberated in the Senate. The TRAIN bill is also being discussed in the Senate.

Dooc said among the provisions of the new SSS bill is to empower the state fund to increase its members’ contributions.

“It won’t need a Presidential Decree anymore, it is being fixed in the (charter) amendments...That will empower us to increase the contributions,” Dooc said.

The SSS chief said the bill is expected to be passed before the end of the year with the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) including the bill in its priority measures.

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“It’s already in the technical working group in the Senate. Tomorrow Oct. 3 we’ll have a hearing. Hopefully, there will be a committee report after that. Then we go to the plenary then bicam (bicameral committee),” he said.

The increase in members’ contributions was announced last January, together with  President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval of the P1,000 pension hike for retired SSS members.

The additional pension was released last March, with the January and February tranches given retroactively.

Dooc, as well as the economic managers in the Cabinet maintained that additional contributions are necessary to keep the state fund running, even with the pension increase.

Under the original proposal, the premium hike of active SSS members will be implemented in tranches until 2022, starting with a 1.5 percent increase in May this year. The SSS earlier said members’ premium could go up to 17 percent from the current 11 percent until 2022.

The maximum salary credit was also supposed to be increased to P20,000 from P16,000 last May.

However, since the contribution hike was deferred to next year, Dooc said the SSS would need to catch up with the foregone revenues it could have collected if it implemented the increase on schedule.

He, however, declined to to give the new rate of the increase to be imposed in 2018.

“Had we implemented the 1.5 percent increase this year, plus the maximum salary credit increasing it from P16,000 to P20,000, that would have fetched us P23 billion additional contribution this year. We will chase that because that’s in our equation. We will try to collect everything,” he said.

Dooc said the premium hike would help extend the life of the pension fund up to 2051 from the current actuarial life of until 2042.

He said this could be further prolonged with more members expected to enter the system with the introduction of new amendments, including the mandatory contribution of new overseas Filipino workers.

 

 

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