By Renato Nasol
LEGAZPI CITY --- Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares welcomed the Social Security System’s announcement that it will not impose additional contribution from SSS members, especially now that its collection for the first quarter is up by 15 percent.
In emailed statement Zarate said, “This is a positive development and we are glad that the SSS heed our advice not to put additional burden on our already overburdened people. All SSS really need is to crack the whip to increase its collection and go after delinquent employers, among others.”
“As for the voluntary increase in contribution for those earning more and to have higher than the P16,000 pension cap, I think that this can be worked out especially since this is a voluntary move on the part of the member,” added the Davao-based solon.
Meanwhile, former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares also welcomes the announcement but again warned SSS from pursuing it later. “SSS has no legal and moral grounds to increase contributions when they have not even undertaken reforms to increase collection, increase investment efficiency and other reform measures,” Colmenares said.
During Congressional hearings on the bill, SSS has admitted that increasing its collection will also increase the SSS fund life. “Thus, if they first implement the much needed reforms for one or two years, SSS will find out that with increased collections, there is even no longer any need to let the members shoulder an additional contribution. At the very least, the increased contribution will be much less than their projected increase. Trabaho muna, huwag trabahong tamad”, he added.
Colmenares urged Malacanang not to allow the contribution increase if it is again floated especially now that wages cannot keep up with rising prices. “For every 10% increase in collection rate efficiency, about 4-5 years is added to SSS actuarial life. In fact, one study shows that if SSS will only increase its collection rate efficiency from a dismal 40% to more than 60%, they may not even need a contribution increase. So why ask for contribution increase when SSS has not even calculated its collection rate efficiency?
“We ask Pres. Duterte to demand quality work from SSS before they are allowed to propose contribution increase” said Colmenares.
“Alam naming matrabaho ang mag habol sa collection at mga employer. Mas madali ang trabaho ng SSS pag taasan na lang ang contribution. But they have a mandate to work and not merely sit in Board meetings. We will support SSS efforts to go after employers who do not remit workers contribution to SSS. The problem is, pag tinaasan mo ang contribution, sigurado mag tatamad tamaran na naman ang SSS sa paghabol ng koleksyon. Section 4 paragraph b (2) expressly prohibits the SSS from increasing contributions to fund a pension increase,” ended Colmenares.