Tagging the SSS and the Duterte regime as social security spoilers, OFWs and families led by Migrante International trooped to the SSS headquarters on Friday, April 26, to demand the implementation of a genuine social security program. The group calls on the SSS to immediately conduct a comprehensive consultation with all the stakeholders including the local and overseas workers to be able to chart a social security system that would truly redound to the people’s benefit.
Various sectors are assailing RA 11199 because of its grievous policy of further putting the responsibility of social security on the people. “Instead of assuming its obligation to protect the welfare of its people through an inclusive and comprehensive social security system, what the government did in the enactment of RA 11199 is to ensure additional exaction through premium hike and compulsory collection on OFWs,” said Arman Hernando, Migrante Philippines Chairperson.
For 2019, the SSS expects an additional collection of P31 Billion on premium hike alone. Should the mandatory collection of SSS premium on OFWs push through, the agency will be adding P4.8B yearly to its funds. What is worse according to Hernando is that RA 11199 gave the government total access to the proceeds of SSS collection by acquiring the right to ‘borrow’ its reserve fund. “Isn’t it shameful for a government to exact money from its people under the premise of social security then take and utilize a significant part of it to answer for its expenditures or lend it to big private businesses?” Hernando asked. Migrante evinced that RA 11199 should be suspended pending a careful review and proscription of its iniquitous provisions.
“Amidst ever-increasing prices of basic commodities and social services, rising unemployment and worsening labor conditions, the people cannot shoulder additional burden such as the premium hike and P2,400 monthly compulsory SSS contribution on OFWs. What we need right now is a social security program that would uplift us from our economic hardships. Instead of additional collection, what the SSS and Duterte should immediately do is to release the promised P1,000 additional monthly pension and guarantee that the expanded maternity leave benefits will be fully enjoyed by its members. Long overdue, Duterte should also immediately heed the workers call for a P750 national minimum wage and the end of contractualization. To guarantee a living wage and job security is to assure workers’ social security,” Hernando asserted.
Migrante further demands that there should be no program that would implement a compulsory collection of premiums, much less, a rule that would bar the OFWs from working abroad should they fail to pay the collectible amount by the SSS. “To enjoy the fruits of our labor, what we are truly aspiring for is a social security system that is subsidized and assumed by the government. “We dare say to SSS and Duterte: Do not make the local and migrant workers your milking cows. Spoilers are those who exploit us further by exacting money to finance a market-driven social security program,” said Hernando.
Migrante culminated the action by bidding on all workers, local and abroad, their families and all people to join the Labor day demonstrations on May 1st and bolster the fight for a greater social protection, better living condition and a just and equal social order for all.###