SSS cites improvement in collections amid impending contribution hike

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 19) — The Social Security System (SSS) on Tuesday dismissed concerns about its failure to collect members' contributions.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Dooc told CNN Philippines the agency's collection capabilities have improved under the Duterte administration.

"Noong nakaraang taon almost 14 percent po ang na-gain naming growth rate sa contribution collection. In 2017, from 144 umabot kami sa P159 billion, that is 10.6 percent growth rate in collection. There is a continuing trend of improvement in our collection efficiency," Dooc said.

The SSS president was reacting to a statement made by Bayan Muna chair and senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares that the newly signed SSS rationalization law, increasing the amount of contributions, would be unfair to those who pay their dues as the government has been failing to collect contributions from other members.

"Bakit kayo magse-set ng taun-taong increase in contribution, hindi naman nag-i-increase ang inyong collection rate efficiently taun-taon? It is unfair," Colmenares told CNN Philippines Monday.

[Translation: Why will you set a yearly increase in contribution, when your collection rate does not? It is unfair.]

READ: Colmenares: SSS should increase collections instead of contributions

Dooc admitted that only 16 million out of around 38 million registered SSS members are actively paying. He explained that some members usually stop paying premiums when their employment ends, stressing that this could be addressed as the new law enables the government to give unemployment benefits.

"Kapag nadisplace ang isang miyembro ng SSS sa kanyang trabaho involuntarily, tatanggap po siya ng benepisyo, hindi po ito utang, cash benefit na 50 percent of his average monthly salary credit for two months," Dooc said, adding that this would help them find jobs.

He did not say when exactly the SSS contributions will increase from the current 11 percent to 12 percent this year. It will further increase by 1 percent every other year until it reaches 15 percent in 2025. This means, this 2019, minimum wage earners who used to contribute P440 a month will now contribute P480.