By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Anakpawis regional coordinator Michael Cabangon said that as it is, poor workers cannot feed their families due to meager wages and here comes the impending hike on the member’s premium contribution to the Social Security System (SSS) that would surely add up to their burden.
Cabangon said that many employers in the region, like in other parts of country, are not even paying their worker’s SSS premiums. He cited the case of the workers of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company where the company did not pay their SSS contributions for years.
Meanwhile, members of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) picketed the main office of the state-run insurance agency along East Avenue in Quezon City to protest the said hike. KMU condemned the hike which is from 10.4 percent to 11 percent.
In his pre-labor day speech weeks ago, President Benigno Aquino III spoke on the SSS estimated unfunded liability as of 2011 at P1.1 trillion. The president said that the solution to the problem is “a little sacrifice.” He said that the international standard of contribution rate is 14.1 % compared to the 10.4 % in the country. He announced that if 0.6% will just be added to the contribution rate and raise it to 11%, SSS’s unfunded liability can be immediately reduced by P141 billion.
According to SSS Director Emilio de Quiros, the hike will be implemented in June or July this year.
Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Neri Colmenares said in a statement the increase in the SSS contribution adds insult to the injury. He said while there is no increase to the worker’s wages, their income would still be reduced because of the approval of the president to the contribution hike.
Based on the study of Bayan Muna, the SSS is capable of raising instead the pensions of retired members without increasing the contribution. Colmenares explained that SSS’s assets amount to P343.670 billion as of December 2010. He added that the collectibles from the employers who did not avail of the amnesty program amounting to P14.6 billion, the fines and other penalties are included in the said assets.
According to KMU, SSS’s net income in 2011 increased by P25.55 billion and another increase of P36.20 billion in 2012. The labor group cited the agency’s investment in Philex Mining Corporation which reached P23.4 billion in March 2012.
Cabangon said that the Aquino administration is slowly killing the workers and their families under his administration. “Is Aquino not capable of doing right things instead of making the lives of his impoverished countrymen harder? Cabangon said. Northern Dispatch