THE Social Security System (SSS) aims to have its proposed charter amendments up for plenary debates in the Senate this month, putting it on track to help offset the second round of the hike in monthly member contributions next year.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc told reporters on Friday that he targets to have the bill containing amendments to Republic Act 8282 or the Social Security Law enacted “before the end of the year.”
The bill amending the SSS charter is currently in a technical working group at the Senate Government Corporations and Public Enterprises committee after the House of Representative passed its counterpart proposal House Bill No. 2158 in mid-January.
“In Oct. 3, we will have a hearing. Hopefully we can have the committee report after that. Then plenary then bicam[eral conference committee],” Mr. Dooc said on the sidelines of an event on Friday night.
Once enacted, the amendments will enable the SSS to implement a 1.5% increase in member contributions without getting permission from President Rodrigo R. Duterte through an Executive Order (EO). If the legislation moves as fast as targeted, members’ monthly contributions will be equivalent to 12.5% of their monthly salary credit by Jan. 1, 2018.
The contribution hike was initially planned to be implemented in May as it was made a condition to the P1,000 pension hike approved by the President in January. Ever since, no EO was signed.
Meanwhile, Mr. Dooc affirmed that the second tranche of the P2,000 pension hike will be implemented by 2019.
“Kasi (Because it’s an) election year, pipilitin kami niyan (we will be forced to implement that).”
Economic managers earlier said the increase in pensions received by retirees without a corresponding contribution hike equivalent to 17% of their salary would cut the fund’s actuarial life by 14 to 17 years.
“Pero kung nagka-contribution increase na next year, wala na akong worry dun (But if a contribution increase will be implemented next year, then that’s not a cause of worry anymore),” said Mr. Dooc.
“Had we implemented the 1.5% this year plus the maximum salary credit increasing it from 16,000 to 20,000, that would have fetched us P23-billion additional contribution this year,” he added.
With the charter amendments, the state-run pension coffer can recover the fund’s life from the current 2042 to 2051, according to Mr. Dooc.
Aside from higher contributions, SSS will have a wider base of members as the revised SSS law will mandate overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to become contributors.
Mr. Dooc said that they target to put one million OFWs in the SSS base per year. “Right now we only have 550,000 OFWs paying. The OFW pays higher because they get better pay,” he said.
“Pero kung matuloy yung ‘Build, Build, Build’ (But if ‘Build, Build, Build’ will be implemented) that will bring more jobs, meaning more members so we expect higher than one million per year,” added Mr. Dooc. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan