The Social Security System (SSS) has deployed mobile E-centers in far-flung areas to give residents in the countryside easier access to the pension fund’s services.
The SSS offices in the Western Visayas region, in particular, have extended their resources to remote communities to allow members to update their membership and non-members to register with the system.
Raul Casiano, SSS officer-in-charge for Western Visayas Division, said SSS branches in Kalibo (Aklan), Dumaguete City (Negros Oriental) and Iloilo deployed mobile E-centers–temporary SSS desks–to make SSS services within reach of potential and existing members.
Among the services being offered by the mobile E-centers are: SSS registration, salary loan application, ID capture, member data change request and status inquiry.
Casiano said mobile E-centers were also set up on the islands of Siquijor and Guimaras, and the cities of Bayawan and Passi that lasted for six months beginning November last year.
“With this project, we expect to see more active membership as well as improved collections,” he added.
The deployment of mobile E-centers, which in total accounted for nearly 3,000 transactions, is part of the SSS initiative to cover hard-to-reach and informal sectors, Casiano said.
“We will set up a mobile E-center in Siquijor again this coming September, which will be handled by our SSS Dumaguete branch,” he added.
According to Casiano, SSS also participates in the monthly “Gobyerno sa Baryo,” a joint program of the Aklan Provincial Government and Congressional District Office for the benefit of the province’s constituents in remote and rural communities.
As of April 2015, the number of SSS members in Western Visayas increased by 3.4 percent from 1.78 million in 2014 to 1.84 million, of which about 70 percent or 1.25 million are regular and household employees.
SSS recorded about 351,384 self-employed members and 241,812 voluntary members.
Casiano said there is a modest increase in the number of self-employed and voluntary members that grew by 6.7 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively.
“So, we want to focus on those sectors under the informal economy, considering the vast number of micro and small businesses engaged in crop production and active fishery activities around the area,” he noted.
Casiano said thriving tourism, specifically in the municipality of Malay, has prompted the SSS to closely monitor employment activities in the province.
“We have conducted a saturation drive for 11 days in Boracay this month to comb the area for erring employers and employees who are still not reported for SSS coverage. From that alone, we were able to compel around 250 employers with about 1,300 employees to register with the SSS,” he added.
The state-agency together with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG Fund and the Malay Local Government recently signed an agreement to strengthen monitoring of business’ compliance with the SSS Law in Boracay.
SSS is also meeting with local officials in Malay for the coverage of some 1,222 job- order and contractual hires of the municipal government and barangay (village) units.
Casiano said the pension fund has collected P1.35 billion in contributions from Western Visayas since January 2015 or 7.6 percent higher than the P1.25 billion that was collected from January to April 2014.
He attributed the improved collections to the increasing presence of SSS in the region.
As of date, SSS has 14 branches and eight service offices strategically located in the provinces of Antique, Aklan, Iloilo, Capiz, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental and Siquijor.