SSS AT 60. President Duterte is welcomed by SSS Chairman Amado Valdez, President Emmanuel Dooc and other officials at the 60th anniversary celebration of the Social Security System.
By ALFRED G. GABOT
QUEZON CITY (PhilAmPress) – The Social Security System (SSS) in the Philippines is robust as ever and expanding as it continues to serve its members whose number has surpassed 35.5 million Filipinos who now include the self-employed, voluntary members and overseas Filipino workers.
The assurance was made by SSS Chairman Amado Valdez, President Emmanuel F. Dooc and its Board of Commissioners whose members include Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello and lawyer-educator Dr. Gonzalo T. Duque, Anita Bumpus-Quitain, Arthur Amansec, Michael Regino, Jose Gabriel La Vina and Diana Pardo Aguilar to President Rodrigo Duterte, the SSS officials and employees and the members themselves at the 60th founding anniversary celebration at the SSS headquarters in Quezon City.
President Duterte, the guest of honor and speaker during the celebration held at the Ramon Magsaysay Theater of SSS, took note of the state agency’s achievements and congratulated its officials and employees for their work which “directly impact the lives of our people.”
Prior to Duterte’s speech, guests and officials at the theatre were entertained by Imelda Papin and a singer-cousin who had a duet with Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo. The program was opened with prayer and national anthem and special song and tribute to President Duterte by music icon Anthony Castello with his rendition of his own composition “Dakilang Lahi.”
“Through the work that you do everyday, you manage and maintain a sound and viable Social Security System, which shall provide social justice and promote meaningful protection for members and their families against disability, sickness, maternity, old age, death and other contingences resulting to the loss of income and financial burden,” Duterte said.
The President commended the SSS for efficiently safeguarding and nurturing the hard-earned contributions of its members “so that we can secure the future for each member as your theme here puts it.”
“The only salvation I think to move forward is really to improve the economy and I am committed to do just that,” he said.
At the same time, Duterte ordered SSS to ensure that employers pay the contributions of its workers.
“I urge you to intensify the… monitoring of the employers and ensure that they have registered and that they pay their dues contributions,” the Chief Executive said.
Revenues of SSS also jumped to P2.08 trillion as of end-June 2017 from P6.62 million in 1957 when the agency was founded, according to Chairman Valdez and President Dooc.
The revenue increased as the members’ contributions soared from P6.58 million in 1957 to P1.51 trillion as of end of the first half of 2017. Investment and other income from P40,000 in the pilot year grew to P567.53 billion as of end of the first half of 2017.
“The pension fund’s income from contributions and investments has always been the strong pillar and source of benefits for members. With the current proposal to amend the SS Charter, such as rationalizing the power of the Social Security Commission to allow the SSS to invest in more feasible and profitable investments, we hope to serve our members better through better benefits and services,” Dooc said.
Assets of the pension fund, meanwhile, also improved through the years from the initial P6.37 million in 1957 to P501.49 billion as of end first semester of 2017.
Latest data showed SSS membership now stood at P35,502,193 from a mere 224,156 members in 1957. The bulk of the 35.5 million members are the regular employees at 25,637,323. There are now 4,537,932 members who are self-employed employees, and 4,029,645 voluntary members. Overseas Filipino workers who are members totalled 1,297,293.
At the same time, Dooc said benefit disbursements of the pension fund grew nearly 20 million times from P80,000 in benefits paid in its first year of operations in 1957 to P1.45 trillion as of end the first semester of 2017.
“This year, as the pension fund celebrates another milestone year, we look back with pride that SSS has been a staunch ally of its members for six decades now as we look forward with hope that the pension fund will continue to stand strong, ready to help its members through difficulties and milestones of their lives for generations to come,” Dooc said.
Benefit disbursements pushed total expenditures of the pension fund to P1.58 trillion as of end-June 2017 from P580,000 in 1957.
From an office space stationed in Manila, SSS now has 301 local and foreign offices. The overseas offices are located in San Francisco, California; Toronto and Calgary in Canada; Brunei, Hong Kong, Macau, Kaohsiung in Taiwan, and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Middle East and Europe offices are in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Doha in Qatar, Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, London in Great Britain, Kuwait, Al-Khobar, Muscat, and in Rome and Milan in Italy.
Its workforce has also expanded through the years as its serve more members. From the 211 personnel in 1957, the SSS now employs 6,670 regular personnel and 2,200 service bureau personnel.
SSS was established in 1957 by virtue of Republic Act 1161 or the Social Security Act of 1954. Due to numerous objections from the business and labor groups in 1954, the execution of the law was delayed until it was finally implemented on September 1, 1957. (Alfred Gabot/PhilAmPress/PhilippinesTodayUSA)