Bill extending SSS coverage to OFWs awaits Duterte signature

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2019 01:06 PM

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) from Kuwait arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila on February 12, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News 

MANILA - A measure pushing for mandatory social security coverage for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) has been transmitted to Malacañang for President Rodrigo Duterte's signature, a senator said Sunday. 

Land and sea-based OFWs below 60 years would be covered by the Social Security System (SSS) once Senate Bill 1753 is signed into law, said its author and sponsor, Sen. Richard Gordon. 

The move may help expand the number of OFWs with SSS coverage to 2.5 million from the current 500,000, Gordon said in a statement. 

This would generate P16 billion in premium collections in a year, which would be able to help extend the fund life of the SSS, agency president and chief executive officer Emmanuel Dooc earlier said. 

It would also provide unemployment insurance for SSS members who will be displaced involuntarily, Gordon said. 

The measure would also repeal the 21-year old Social Security Law and give SSS additional powers to ensure the long-term viability. 
 
One of the main provisions of the bill seeks to increase the contribution of SSS members by one percentage point every other year starting 2019 until the current rate of 11 percent rises to 15 percent by 2025. It would also adjust the minimum and maximum salary credit of members. 

The measure would also give the SSS Commission the power to determine the salary credit and monthly contributions of members, which would now allow the commission to increase contributions "depending on the actuarial survey."

Gordon said the expanded powers are needed because the current salary credit and contribution of employees "is only limited to P16,000 which yields very little benefit." 

At the same time, the SSS would also be empowered to invest its Reserve Funds to grow the wealth of SSS and ultimately yield higher income."

"The SSS must be given a chance to do what they can for the people because the government could not base its policies on fear but on trusting the people, especially those with tremendous responsibility," he said.