THE country’s biggest labor group has joined calls for internal reforms in the state-run Social Security Sytems (SSS) to better manage the pension fund for more than 34 million members from the private sector.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) on Sunday said the SSS need not impose a 1.5-percent increase in member contributions to offset the P1,000 pension hike approved by the President last week.
TUCP General Secretary Arnel Dolendo called for an efficient collection system and a drive against companies that do not remit the SSS contributions of their workers.
“SSS must improve its collection efficiency and stop corruption in the system. What happened to those companies that deducted monthly contributions from their employees but did not remit them to the SSS?” Dolendo said in a statement.
The TUCP also called on the SSS to trim its bureaucracy and staff and rationalize remunerations and benefits for SSS commissioners and top executives.
“What SSS did not tell President Duterte is that there is still room to slash the SSS operational budget to more reasonable levels so that an additional contribution will not be required. Another issue is that in the manner SSS invests its fund, SSS must make placements more strategic to bring up the fund,” the labor group added.
The P1,000 hike in pensions is only half of the original P2,000 promised by the President during the election campaign. The SSS plans to give another P1,000 increase by 2019 at the earliest, depending on the status of its fund.
The contribution rate of members will be increased by 1.5 percent, or to 12 percent from 11 percent, to shore up the SSS fund life.
Earlier, the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) called on the new leadership of the SSS to fix its system first before requiring new contributions from 14 million paying members out of the 34 million registered members.
“There would be significant improvement in the fund life of SSS if these reforms are enforced. Resorting to quick fix and the path of least resistance raises doubts about ability of SSS commissioners to trim corporate fat. We suggest to President Duterte to direct the SSS to open their books and consult with workers,” said ALU spokesman Alan Tanjusay.
Tanjusay claimed workers’ daily purchasing power had been reduced by at least 30 percent because of rising prices of basic commodities services. Water and electricity bills are also expected to rise, he said.