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Senate approves deferment of SSS increases in monthly contributions
The committee, chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon, will consolidate Senate Bills 1965, 1970 and 1996, seeking to postpone or authorize the President to defer hikes in SSS contributions.
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Senate approves deferment of SSS increases in monthly contributions

Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 27, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committee on government corporations and public enterprises approved yesterday proposals to allow the deferment of increases in the monthly contributions of Social Security System (SSS) members, citing the deep economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon, will consolidate Senate Bills 1965, 1970 and 1996, seeking to postpone or authorize the President to defer hikes in SSS contributions.

Republic Act 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018 mandates an increase of one percent in contributions this year and every year thereafter until 2025.

SB 1965 filed by Sens. Imee Marcos, Sherwin Gatchalian and Joel Villanueva seeks amendment to the law to effect the postponement. Gordon’s SB 1970 also proposes the same. Sen. Bong Revilla authored SB 1996 that proposes to authorize the President to defer any scheduled increase.

Villanueva said he authored the bill “to provide a reprieve for our battle-weary workers and employers through the suspension of the mandated increase in social security contribution rate in the event of a pandemic.”

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines expressed support for the bills, saying the higher contributions would burden businesses, particularly small and medium enterprises.

SSS officials, however, stressed the higher contributions would be negligible or anywhere from P15 to P100 for the employed and P30 to P200 for self-employed and voluntary members, as well as overseas Filipino workers.

SSS president Aurora Ignacio warned that the relief from any deferment would only be short term, but would cause permanent damage to the pension fund.

She said those without jobs would not be forced to pay their SSS contributions.

“Currently, the long-term solvency of SSS is already threatened with trillions of unfunded liability. In simple terms, there is insufficient fund to enable us to support payments for the next generation of pensioners,” Ignacio said.

She said the SSS would have no more funds to pay for P9.46 trillion worth of member benefits and pension payments in the next 30 to 40 years if the scheduled rate increase is postponed.

PhilHealth, too

Meanwhile, at the House of Representatives, lawmakers approved on second reading yesterday House Bills 8316 and 8317 authorizing the President to suspend the implementation of scheduled increases in the premium rates of PhilHealth and SSS, respectively.

The two separate measures got the go-signal from the House committee on health, led by Quezon Rep. Helen Tan, as well as the House committee on government enterprises and privatization of Parañaque City Rep. Eric Olivarez. – Delon Porcalla

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