To help fund the proposed pension hike, the Social Security System (SSS) will intensify its collection efforts and improve its collection efficiency by going after non-complying employers, this was disclosed by Social Security Commission (SSC) Chairman Dean Amado Valdez, recently.
“It can’t be denied that there are employers who fail to remit the contributions of their employees or who even fail to report their employees for coverage. I am warning them, we will employ the full force of the law in going after them. Either they pay their obligations including penalties or they go to jail,” Dean Valdez said.
As of December 2016, SSS has initiated legal actions such as issuance of demand letters and filing of cases against over 34,000 delinquent employers since 2010, bringing in almost P1.4 billion in collections to date. The efforts of SSS also resulted in a total of 38 employer convictions since 2010, with a corresponding collectible delinquency of P61.66 million.
“The SS Commission will formulate policies and improve our monitoring systems to ensure that employers, regardless of its size, comply with their SSS obligations. We warn all erring employers to start changing their ways and start doing things right or face legal sanctions,” said Dean Valdez who added that this is a primary strategy of the agency to improve collections.
Another strategy to improve revenues is in the area of investments. Dean Valdez reiterated SSS plans to diversify assets by directly investing in up to 25 percent ownership in a wide range of industries, including infrastructure projects like toll roads, real estate and even lotto operations.
“The return on SSS investments has an average of seven percent for 2016, and we hope to bring it up to 15 to 20 percent next year following the enhancements in investment practices and the new investing projects and activities we plan to carry out in the next several months,” Dean Valdez said.
On the issue of operating expenses, Dean Valdez said that SSS has cut down its operating expenses in its 2017 budget by P1 billion as it seeks measures to improve its performance and address the existing structural imbalance in funding.
OPEX is used for payment of compensation and benefits of employees, utilities, maintenance of branches, rent, supplies and other operating costs. SSS has 6,000 employees deployed across its 296 branches nationwide and abroad. It has a membership base of over 34 million at present, of whom over two million are receiving pensions.
“To help reduce operating expenses, for instance, promotion of employees will be done strictly on the basis of excellent performance. Hiring will be limited to filling up very critical posts that will enable SSS to deliver quality services to the public,” the chairman said.
The salaries and bonuses of SSS officials have been the subject of criticisms levelled at the SSS in debates around the pension hike issue. SSS, in its previous statements, clarified that these have been capped not only for SSS but across all GOCCs with the enactment of the GOCC Governance Act and Executive Order 24 in 2011.