By Chino S. Leyco
More than 50 cooperatives and associations nationwide joined the Social Security System (SSS) on its fourth multi-sectoral forum aiming to promote the pension fund’s programs for self-employed workers in the informal sector.
In a statement, Aurora C. Ignacio, SSS President and Chief Executive Officer, said the multi-sectoral event is an opportunity to look for potential partners in bringing social security protection to informal sector workers from far-flung areas.
According to Ignacio, SSS conducts the forum to further reach out to one of the most vulnerable sectors of the country’s economy.
“We at SSS, believe that the informal sector, like any other private working Filipino, should be protected from the hazards of the sudden loss of income due to sickness, disability, death or retirement,” Ignacio said.
Aside from the organized groups, national government agencies namely Securities and Exchange Commission-Microfinance Institutions (SEC-MFI) and attached agencies under the Department of Agriculture like Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) were also represented.
“It is unfortunate that our farmers and fisherfolks, who feed 104.9 million Filipinos, are the most vulnerable workers in the economy due to the rapidly changing climate and various pests and diseases which greatly affect their productivity and income,” Judy Frances A. See, SSS executive vice-president said.
“That is why we also invited our colleagues from the government sector to let them know that SSS is here to help them in times of financial contingencies through SSS membership,” she added.
The multi-sectoral event, tagged as “SSS: Nakikiisa sa Pagsulong ng Social Protection Para sa mga Manggagawa sa Informal Sector,” was attended by about 100 representatives from 50 cooperatives, organizations, local government units and national government agencies.
Among the event highlights was the sharing of best practices of Simbayanan ni Maria Multi-Purpose Cooperative President and Chief Executive Officer Angelita S. Ramos and SEDPI Development Finance Inc. Chairperson Mariel Vincent A. Rapisuraas SSS-accredited Partner Agents (PAs), and Cooperative Development Authority Executive Director Rey R. Elevazo, CSEE.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our accredited partner agents for helping us provide SSS services to their respective members. For today’s participants, we hope that you would become our partners in achieving a common goal of building more resilient communities through social security protection,” Ignacio concluded.
The SSS Partner Accreditation (PA) Program started in 2012 wherein cooperatives and microfinance institutions (MFIs) are tapped by SSS to provide various services for their own members who are also SSS members.
Servicing partner agents are tasked to receive members’ applications such as SSS registration, salary loans, and funeral benefits while collecting partner agents are authorized to collect SSS contributions, loan amortizations, and other miscellaneous payments.
As of August 2019, the SSS has accredited 54 PAs nationwide — nine of which are from the National Capital Region (NCR), 27 from Luzon, 11 from Visayas, and seven from Mindanao.
From January to August 2019, 50 SSS-accredited servicing PAs facilitated 2,250 transactions while 48 accredited collecting PAs collected P63.61 million worth of contributions and loan amortizations.