No to Mandatory SSS collections on OFWs! Raise pensions, not exactions! — Migrante

Migrante International joins other sectors in a BAYAN-led protest action held before the gates of the SSS main office on Wednesday, 13 March 2019. This was on the back of the impending enforcement of the mandatory SSS on both land-based and sea-based overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

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Migrante Philippines chairperson Arman Hernando expressed alarm saying, “as Migrante feared, it is the OFWs who will bear the brunt of paying the monthly contributions and not the employer. How can OFWs have a secure future with SSS if 12% of their monthly income gets robbed by the government that stubbornly refuses to raise pensions?”

According to Hernando, the government should fulfill its pledge to grant the clamoured Php 2,000 addition to the SSS pension instead of imposing higher exactions. The government so far refuses to give the remaining Php 1,000 pension increase despite previously guaranteeing to grant it after 2018.

In October last year, Migrante expressed its strongest opposition to the bill after its bicameral approval in the Philippine legislature. Migrante deplored that no extensive consultations among OFWs were ever conducted by SSS even up to the time of its signing by President Rodrigo Duterte last month.

In the recently published draft IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations) of the Social Security Act of 2018, Rule 14 Section 5:IV stated that a land-based OFW shall pay both the employer and the employee contributions. This until such a time that the host country enters into a bilateral labour agreement with the Philippines.

“Worst, OFWs will be forced to contribute Php 2,400 per month in its entirety as long as the host country does not enter into a bilateral agreement that will obligate employers to remit their contributions.This will be on top of the US$144 mandatory insurance that is also being pushed by the government. OFWs are being totally ripped off,” Hernando stated.

The IRR mandates that SSS, along with DOLE and DFA must ensure its implementation by the host country through striking bilateral labour agreements that will obligate foreign employers to remit their contributions. Hernando warned last year that requiring employers to contribute on these exactions could incite their antagonism against OFWs.

Migrante also recalled how SSS sparked outcry in recent years due to the fat bonuses of its executives. Migrante is set to launch a petition today to block the mandatory SSS exaction on OFWs.

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