DoLE recommends SSS contribution collection from OFWs after 3 months of service

LABOR SECRETARY Silvestre H. Bello III on Wednesday said he will be recommending that the collection of Social Security System (SSS) contributions from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) be made three months after the start of their job abroad. In an interview with reporters, Mr. Bello said apart from lessening the burden on OFWs, this system is more legally sound. Under the government’s new policy, OFWs, before leaving the country, must pay their mandatory SSS contribution as part of the requirements for getting an Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). This policy is contained under the new SSS law. Mr. Bello explained that OFWs without an OEC cannot be legally considered as OFWs. The OEC, issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), is a document that will allow the OFW to exit the Philippines for the overseas job. “I have already relayed this position to the president of SSS, where I am also one of the commissioners. I already informed them of the legal contemplation, a worker, who has not been issued an OEC is not yet an OFW, and therefore cannot be covered by the compulsory (SSS) coverage law,” he said. The Labor chief said initial discussions on this have already been undertaken. “(W)e will communicate to SSS that pursuant to our personal conversation, we will issue the OEC to the worker and collect the contribution three months after workers has rendered service and has collected his or her salary,” he said.

The implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. (RA) 11199, the Social Security Act of 2018, provides that SSS contribution is compulsory for OFWs. — Gillian M. Cortez

New IBP president says group will be ‘non-political’ but will be vocal

THE NEW president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said the organization will be vocal on political issues if the matter at hand is contrary to law. IBP President Domingo Egon Q. Cayosa said speaking out is aligned with the role of lawyers as the “sentinel of the rule of law.” “So of course, if there is a shortcut or a derogation or an attack to the rule of law, it is our duty regardless of who the president, who the chief justice is,” he told reporters after the oath taking of the 24th Board of Governors of the IBP on Tuesday at the Supreme Court. Mr. Cayosa clarified, however, that they are not political in their statements, as the IBP’s by-laws provide that the group be “non-political.” “(W)e will not play politics, we will just stick to facts and to law,” he said. “We would rather that we stick to law rather than playing politics, mahirap (it’s difficult), we would lose our independence we would lose our credibility if IBP dabbles into politics,” he added. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas