Thursday, March 13, 2014

SSS 11-month collections in Bicol reach P1.15 B
By Mar S. Arguelles

LEGAZPI CITY, Mar. 12 (PNA) -- The Social Security System (SSS) collected a total of P1.15 billion in contributions from half a million members and employers in the Bicol region from January to November last year, an SSS report said Wednesday.

The report showed that the total collection was ten percent higher than its P1.04 billion total for the same period in 2012.

Josie Magana, officer-in-charge of the SSS Luzon Operations Group, said the continuing growth in collection reflects the increasing number of workers in Bicol who realize the value of active SSS membership.

Magana added that over the same 11-month period last year, contributions from large Bicol-based accounts – or companies with 100 employees and more – reached P334.54 million.

She said contributions from branch accounts, inolving small and medium-sized companies with less than 100 employees, comprised 37 percent or P430.33 million of total collections in the region.

Meanwhile, contributions from self-employed and voluntary members in the area totaled P390.12 million.

“While employees still account for most of Bicol's total collections, we expect contributions from self-employed and voluntary members to grow as we increase our partnerships with organized workers' groups, particularly in the informal sector within the region,” Magana said.

A total of 54 Bicol-based groups and about 3,600 of their members have joined the AlkanSSSya Program, an SSS micro-saving scheme intended to help informal sector workers maintain active membership with the help of a secure cabinet-type “piggy-bank” that stores their daily SSS savings.

Last year, the SSS also accredited the Legazpi-based Simbag sa Pag-asenso, Inc. as a servicing partner agent to facilitate SSS transactions of nearly 32,500 self-employed workers in southern Bicol and northern Samar.

Magana noted that nearly 80 percent, or P899.23 million, of total contributions from Bicol were remitted over-the-counter at SSS branches.

Another P160.99 million was paid in SSS-accredited banks, and the rest remitted via other SSS payment facilities such as Bayad Centers, Auto Debit Arrangements and the web-based Electronic Data Interchange for employers.

“The SSS has enhanced its tellering facilities by providing all of our branch tellers with an online system that validates the paying member’s SSS number and name, thereby ensuring accurate payment information,” she said.

This enables the same-day posting of their SSS payments and eliminates the occurrence of 'unpostable' contributions, the SSS official added.

Magana, as well as other senior SSS officials led by President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr., were in Legazpi City on March 10-11 for the first SSS Regional Visit in 2014.

Activities during the visit included the “Kapihan sa SSS” with the local media, and fora with stakeholders and branch personnel to allow SSS management to gather direct feedback on SSS policies and programs.

The SSS Bicol Division, which has over 40,000 registered employers and nearly 663,000 members, holds office in Naga City.

It supervises nine branches located in the cities of Naga, Iriga, Masbate, Sorsogon, Tabaco, and Legazpi and the towns of Virac, Daet and Goa.

It also has a service office at the Ligao Municipal Hall, and eight representative offices in the towns of Jose Panganiban, Labo, Ocampo, Bulan, Irosin, Matnog, Pilar and Donsol. (PNA) CTB/FGS/MSA/CBD