SSS Charter Amendment bill advances in Senate floor

The state-run Social Security System (SSS) on Friday expressed its pleasure that the proposed bill to amend Republic Act 8282 or Social Security Law of 1997 has advanced in the Senate following Sen. Richard Gordon’s sponsorship speech on the Senate floor last May 22.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said he was grateful that Senate Bill 1753 that aims to amend the 21-year old SS Law has finally gathered the attention of the Senators after the Committee of Government Corporations and Public Enterprises (GCPE) and Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development led by Gordon presented Committee Report No. 300.

“We are grateful to Sen. Richard Gordon in pushing the amendment of some provisions of the SS Charter. This is a long-term solution to maintain the viability of SSS in order to continuously provide meaningful benefits,” said Dooc.

Gordon presented the bill citing the need to amend the existing law for the benefit of the pension fund, its members, its pensioners and its stake holders.

The bill, if enacted into law, according to Gordon, will expand, protect, and grow the fund so there will be pension for all when the time of their retirement comes.

“This is a wonderful bill for the benefit and welfare of our people. Its very title alone, speaks of lengthening or for that matter making sure that the viability, long term viability of the SSS is ensured. When the retirees’ pension was increased by P1,000 last year, the fund life of SSS immediately decreased by ten years… That’s why it has become imperative for us to see to it that this bill is approved,” he added.

The proposed amendments to the pension fund’s charter will expand the power of the Social Security Commission (SSC), enabling it to enhance SSS’ benefit system and to condone penalties of delinquent employers without prior approval from the President of the Philippines.

In addition, the bill will allow the SSC to diversify SSS investments to generate and boost earnings of the pension fund, to determine monthly salary credit and contribution tables based on actuarial studies, and to further improve the benefits being disbursed to its members.

It will also institutionalize the mandatory coverage of overseas Filipino workers to protect them in times of contingencies.

Dooc added that the proposed amendments will be beneficial not only to the 2.3 million pensioners of the SSS, but also to the 15.3 million actively paying members and some 700,000 registered employers.

The SS Law amendment is also one of the options eyed to answer the clamor to grant the second tranche of the P2,000 additional benefit for SSS pensioners.

“As you can see, up to this point, we do not have the power to grant additional benefits. This proposed amendment, if passed into law, will give us the power at the SSC level, to enhance the benefit system of the pension fund,” Dooc said.

Dooc added that the SSS hopes that the amendment of its charter will be approved this year.