Lawmakers demand explanation on SSS, PhilHealth contributions hike

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Friday, January 3, 2014

MEMBERS of Congress want an explanation on the collection of higher contributions from members of the Social Security System (SSS) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) this month.

Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr. said both SSS and PhilHealth should justify to their members the need for an increase.

"The demands of transparency and accountability require the officials of SSS and PhilHealth to make a full disclosure and accounting of the public funds being administered by them," Barzaga said.

Newspaper reports say at least 30.04 million individual members and 871,642 employers will be affected by the increased monthly SSS contributions from 10.4 percent to 11 percent effective January 2014.

Meanwhile, PhilHealth members who are employed will pay another P25 as their contributions will be increased from P175 to P200. Self employed members who used to pay a monthly contribution of P150 will pay P200 starting this month.

Representatives Rodel Batocabe (Ako Bicol) and Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna), for their part, sought to defer the increase as the country is yet to recover from calamities that struck it in recent months.

"Congress should look into the reasonableness and propriety of the planned increases in premiums. Our people have been suffering already as a result of successive calamities and prices of commodities and increases in SSS and PhilHealth premiums are ill-timed and unfortunate," Batocabe said.

"The SSS should not increase its premium. It should first collect its P90 billion uncollected premiums from delinquent employers. It has no moral authority to collect more because it still has a lot more to collect," Colmenares added.

Colmenares earlier filed a resolution seeking a House committee investigation on the P10-million bonuses granted by the SSS board of directors to themselves.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., a member of the ruling Liberal Party, defended the increase saying that "the payments would far exceed the income at some point."

In his fourth State of the Nation Address last July, President Benigno Aquino III had already hinted at increasing the rate of monthly contribution of SSS members in order to lessen the unfunded liabilities of the social insurance program. (Sunnex)

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