The state-run Social Security System (SSS) announced recently that they are planning to come up with a special program that will effectively cover Filipinos working in the informal sector like fisherfolk, farmers, and market vendors. This is following the results of the 2019 Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index, which placed the Philippines as the fourth country with the worst retirement system among the 37 countries across the globe.
The country, which has been included in the survey for the first time, scored 43.7 out of 100. The index is a study that takes a look at the social security protection of each country.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora Ignacio said that the index results highlight the need for better implementation and prioritization of social security protection for all Filipinos. She shared: "For many years now, we have been reaching out to them, strongly encouraging them to pay their SSS which is the cheapest and most accessible retirement savings today. But their varied work arrangements and at times, intermittent income, prevent them from regularly paying SSS premiums."
The latest International Labor Organization’s survey recorded 21.2 million Filipinos in informal employment from 2008 to 2017. That is 56 percent of the country’s labor force.
On the other hand, SSS numbers show that only 108,779 members are registered under its AlkanSSSya program for the informal sector as of September 2019. Members registered under the Cooperative Accreditation Program count at 44,093 while 230,069 members are covered as job order personnel of government offices.
Ignacio said that their goal is to create a special program that can cater to the needs and paying capabilities of the informal sector. "A challenge for us now is to create a special pension fund program for the informal sector workers like farmers, fisherfolks, among other groups, considering their income spread. These are the areas that SSS will look into."
The latest data show that the SSS has already reached P129.53 billion in benefit payments from January to August 2019. According to them, P75.11 billion (more than 58 percent) of this amount was disbursed for retirement benefits.
The voluntary provident fund is the most accessible retirement savings in the country.
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