Labor and employers have joined together to seek for a deferment on the increase in the premium contributions to the Social Security System (SSS) and of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) until a new law is passed for SSS and the alleged missing funds in Philhealth are accounted for.
In a statement, the Leaders Forum (LF) welcomed moves to suspend the contribution hike by the Home Development Mutual Fund or Pag-IBIG Fund but called anew for the suspension of the 1 percent increase in SSS premiums and of Philhealth.
LCF is a national bipartite committee composed of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. representing the employers and the Federation of Free Workers, Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Mangagagawa and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines representing the labor sector.
“A suspension of the increase is one of the immediate interventions that government can provide the economy and its shareholders as we all try to recover from the crisis,” the LCF said, noting workers and employers who both contribute to the SSS are still suffering from the debilitating effects and threats of the new coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
LFC said the increases are untimely since millions of workers have lost their jobs or have been asked to report for work sparingly with many companies either on skeletal working arrangements or have temporarily or permanently shut down.
The group called the PhilHealth adjustment as inappropriate as it is yet to account for the millions of pesos in funds allegedly used in dubious transactions.
“Until these issues are cleared and addressed, we find no moral ground for the rate hike, collections from which may again be lost to the same corrupt practices,” the LCF said.
The group expressed support to bills filed by Sen. Joel Villanueva, TUCP Party-List Rep. Raymond Mendoza and Rep. Lord Allan Velasco seeking deferment of the proposed increases in the midst of the pandemic.
LCF urged President Duterte to review his appointees in tripartite bodies, particularly in the SSS Commission, the Philhealth Board, Employees Compensation Commission, Government Service Insurance System Board of Trustees, among others, so as to “ensure genuine representation of workers and employers in these institutions as mandated by their respective charters and Republic Act 10395 or the Tripartism Law. (I. Isip)