Press Conference by Presidential Spokesperson Ernetso Abella and SSS Chairperson Atty. Amado Valdez
Reception Hall, Malacañan Palace
10 January 2017
PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON ABELLA: … prudently invested in the nation’s future. As the President has emphasized, he is the President of an entire nation and not just a particular social class. 

In this regard, the funds covering the increase will be through current contributions and investment reserve fund. 

The President is not amenable to using taxpayers’ money to fund pension increase since the SSS is a private pension fund. Its total assets are P487 billion as of October 2016 and its fund life is until 2042. 

Even with the thousand peso increase, the fund life will continue until 2040 by May 2017 when the contribution rate and increase in monthly salary credit is implemented. 

By May 2017, a 1.5 contribution rate increase will be implemented or 12.5 percent from the current 11 percent contribution rate. In peso value, the additional total contribution will range from P15 to P740 equally shared by employer and employee. 

The proper perspective is to view SSS as a long-term savings and not as an expense. An actively paying SSS members after all enjoys benefits, specifically six benefits and loan privileges. 

To ensure sustainability, SSS is setting in place, one: legal action plans to reduce contribution delinquency. For example, intensify legal collection on referred delinquent and non-compliant employers. 

Another action is executive interventions needed to improve collection through the issuances of Executive Orders. 

To further clarify and to be able to go in depth, I’d like to call on Secretary Amado Valdez.

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Thank you, Secretary Abella. Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat. 

First of all, we want to thank profusely our President for his sense of caring for our pensioners as the father of the people is the father of everybody. 

We want also to thank the economic managers for their prudence in reminding us that we have to ensure the sustainability of the fund and in doing so, the life span of the fund will be even pass the threshold of 2042 and perhaps beyond. And also, we would like to thank Congress because they have expressed clearly, energetically, and insouciantly the public sentiment about the need to take care of our elderly. 

A loving nation is what we see, a loving leadership is what we feel in the approval by the President to this initiative not just from Congress but also from the SSS management to grant the long-delayed additional increase in the — what our retirees are receiving. 

But there will be some responsibilities in doing so. One responsibility is see to it that the SSS will do its duty in seeing to it that we have efficient effort to collect from employers and you will find in the following days cases to be filed against erring employers. 

There will be some content charges against employers who do not respond to the summons of the court because the fund is a social protection. So that we are ensured that the future generation of retirees are well protected. 

We will also see to it that the investments will be improved. There are low-lying fruits of investments. We foresee that day when for example, SSS fund will be used to fund toll roads so that you, who are members of SSS, when you pay the toll fee, you are paying what is due to you because you own the toll road. That’s just an example. 

So there will be many innovations that we will undertake and the entire management of the SSS, from the chairman up to the least of our brothers and sisters in the SSS, are committed to see to it that this is not just the first ameliorative move for our members but it will be the start of the series of many moves under the Duterte administration in order to see to it that this administration is a caring administration under a caring President. 

So if there will be some questions, we’ll be happy to oblige. 

May we request also our President to come forward so that he will help us in enlightening you of some details in the SSS operations. Yes, ma’am? 

Jo Montemayor – Reyes (Malaya Business Insight): Good afternoon, sir. Clarification sir, ‘yung P1,000 na inapprove this year. Next year po ba magkakaroon din ng another P1,000 increase since P2,000 ‘yung originally –

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Iyon hong projection natin is under our plan and which when we responded to Congress, because Congress wanted P2,000, sabi namin we cannot do it because it might jeopardize the fund. So we found ways to be able to comply with that. Ang unang P1,000 will be January.

We projected the next P1,000 on — in 2022 but if we are able to implement and get favorable results, baka hindi na aabot ng 2022, baka 2019 palang we’ll be able to comply with the next P1,000. 

Ms. Montemayor – Reyes: Tapos sir, regarding the active members. How would you convince the active members to continue to pay ‘yung contributions since may concern na when they retire nga eventually. 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: There’s no concern because that was also our concern. We were… That was the big mandate that was given to us by the President. He was willing from the beginning. Noon pang una, hinihintay na niya na ibigay natin ‘yan pero sabi niya, I want that if we give that additional benefit, gusto ko, sabi niya, you can ensure to me that it is sustainable and that is a very unambiguous order from the President. 

Ms. Montemayor – Reyes: Sir, last from my part. Sir, regarding ‘yung mga employers na kakasuhan natin. Sir, hindi ba mag — baka i-rason nila na mag stop sila ng operations or mas lalo silang hindi makapagbayad kung wala sila — 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Well, we have anticipated that kasi meron namang — when we went to Congress, when we were there, ang sabi namin, we will try to work hard to implement that sentiment of increasing pero bigyan naman niyo kami ng parang legislative quid pro quo like giving us the power of condonation. 

Kaya pagdating nila sa amin, halimbawa, for example, ‘yung mga kasambahay, employers, hindi sila — umaatras sila mag-register kung nakita nilang malaki ang penalty. Sabi nila, ’pwede ho bang i-condone niyo ‘yung iba’ or we cannot do it because we don’t have the mandate, that’s why we went to Congress. 

Kaya, that’s why we also request Congress, which were very supportive of the SSS nai-expedite ‘yung package of reforms, legislative reforms which we requested and that was a good question. Thank you very much. 

Ms. Montemayor – Reyes: So, sir, hindi magkakaroon ng condonation for now? 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Hindi pa. Hindi pa but we are waiting — we will be pushing with Congress, work with them para mapabilis ‘yung legislative reform that we are asking. 

Ms. Montemayor – Reyes: Sir, pero ‘di ba pag nag-condone tayo usually sa penalty pero ang problem is hindi nare-remit ‘yung mismong contribution? So bakit kailngan natin i-condone since kinaltas na sa ano ‘yun, sa employees? 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: I cannot understand. Your question was inconsistent. 

Ms. Montemayor – Reyes: Sir, hindi. My question earlier was papaano kung — 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Kasi kung nag-remit na ‘yon, bayad na ‘yun. Ang may utang na ‘non, ‘yung kung halimbawa bangko at hindi ni-remit sa atin o nasa employer. As far as the employee’s concerned, we recognize it kasi nag-remit na ‘yun. What do you mean? 

Ms. Montemayor – Reyes: Sir, kasi some employers might parang use — sabihin nila na hindi sila makakabayad, ‘pag nagbayad sila mas maaapektuhan ‘yung operations ng company nila. So — 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: That is not an issue of condonation. It’s an issue of operation. 

Ms. Montemayor – Reyes: So, sir, hindi na magiging rason ‘yun for some companies to close down kung ipipilit nila — 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Hindi naman, hindi naman siguro because this is an obligation under the law. Actually, it’s not just obligation under the law, it’s a moral obligation because you are building social protection eh. 

Because we don’t want na ‘pag hindi na makapag trabaho ‘yung magulang natin, sinong magte-take care diyan sa kanila? It’s SSS. Mabuti na lang may SSS. Thank you. 

PRESIDENT DOOC: Pwede po bang magdagdag ng kaunting paliwanag? Iyon po kasing condonation, we would like Congress to help us by amending our charter. 

One reason why we want condonation to be put in place is because napakataas po ng penalty na ipinapatong kapag nagkakaroon ng default in paying contribution to SSS. 

Ang penalty po ay 3 percent per month, per month po so that’s 36 percent per annum. Kaya po ‘yung mga — nagpatong-patong na ’yung kanilang moroso sa pag-remit ng kanilang contribution ay mas mataas na po ‘yung portion sa penalty kaysa sa principal. So gusto po naming bigyan ng kaunting kaluwagan ‘yung mga employers na nagkulang ng pagbayad sa tamang panahon ng kanilang mga contribution o pag-remit ng mga contribution na kinaltas nila sa kanilang mga empleyado. 

Ito pong condonation ay kalimitang ginagawa ng iba ring government financial institution to encourage updating of the obligations or unpaid obligations of their members. Katulad po sa PAGIBIG, ‘yan po ay karaniwang ginagawa, sa iba pa pong mga financial institutions ‘no. 

Ngayon po, ang amin pong reaksyon sa — para matugunan ang pondong kailangan, para mai — makapagbayad ng karagdagang pension, ay calibrated po, hindi po naman ito biglaan. 

Sa katunayan po, kahit po ang ating mga economic managers, they admitted that we need to increase the contribution so that we can afford to pay the across-the-board pension increase. 

So ‘yun pong sinasabing kailangan umabot sa labing-pitong bahagdanan or 17 percent ang contribution, eh ‘yan po ay hindi minsanang ipapatupad. We will be increasing the contribution by 1.5 percent every year. So calibrated po ito. 

Kahit na po ‘yung sa pag-increase sa maximum salary credit, hindi po naman biglaan. Ito po ay magdadagdag ng —sa unang taon, P4,000 from 16 to 20 then subsequently to 25 and to 30. Because we know the impact if we will implement it at the same time ‘no ng biglaan. So ‘yun lang po ang aking maidagdag. Salamat. 

Dexter Ganibe (DZMM): Good afternoon. Nasagot na po ni, sir, ‘yung katanungan ko dapat kung isusulong ‘yung pag-amiyenda doon sa Republic Act 8282. Pero within this year, sir? ‘Yung —

PRESIDENT DOOC: Well, we want to pursue the legislative initiative as early as possible ‘no because we are trying to address this contingency. 

And we have received support from leaders of Congress that they will be behind us in sitting this amendments to our charter. After all sa kanila din po ang nag — sa kanila nagsimula yung clamor to increase the across-the-board pension benefit kahit na po noong nakalipas na administrasyon. 

So sana po ang Kongreso ay panindigan nila ‘yan para kami ay mabigyan ng power para maisakatuparan namin ang mga reporma internally na aming binabalangkas para maging kami epektibong ahensya ng gobyerno. Salamat po. 

Mr. Ganibe: Nabanggit po sa isang panayam kay Secretary Pernia na napag-usapan daw po sa Cabinet meeting kahapon ang paglalagay ng cap doon sa mga bonuses or allowances sa mga opisyal ng GOCC kapag nagkakaroon ng board meeting at binabanggit na ito ay hanggang P40,000. Kasama rin ho ba ang SSS dito na naging kontrobersyal po noong mga nakaraang taon na inaabot ng milyon — 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Implemented na sa amin ‘yun, that’s already being implemented it. Iyong cap is already being implemented. 

Mr. Ganibe: Na magkano po? 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: There’s a cap of P40,000. So in fact, ‘yung Governance Commission had issued an Executive Order that was signed previously by President Aquino and we are following it religiously and faithfully, ‘yung cap na ‘yon. 

Kaya be assured that this commission, present commission will not be held guilty of that at saka very strict ho si President Duterte. In fact ‘nung mabanggit ‘yan, eh talagang very emphatic siya and we want that the SSS will be the model of compliance. 

Mr. Ganibe: Sir, last na lang on my part. ‘Yung increase ng contribution na mag-start sa May, kasama rin po ba dito ‘yung mga voluntary contrib — yung mga nagvo-volunteer na magko-contribute? 

PRESIDENT DOOC: Opo. Lahat po ng miyembro ay kasama nito sa pagtaas ng contribution. 

Mr. Ganibe: Kailangan — 

PRESIDENT DOOC: Base po sa kanilang monthly salary credit  ‘no so — 

Mr. Ganibe: Kailangan po ng — 

PRESIDENT DOOC: We will increase it to 12.5 percent as you had pointed out earlier on, as proposed by the Commission, we want to implement it by May this year. 

Mr. Ganibe: Kailangan po ng legislation ‘to sir or — 

PRESIDENT DOOC: Hindi na po. Kailangan lang po ng approval ng mahal nating Pangulo na sa nasabi po ni Kalihim Abella, eh sa kanya pong idineklara ang pagtataas ng pension kasabay na po niyan ‘yung mga intervention measures which we had cited in our presentation — by the presentation of the Chairman. 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Ilagay ko lang sa context ‘yan Manong Dexter ano ha. Iyong contribution to the SSS, to compare it to the GSIS: Ang GSIS ho 21 percent ang binabayaran nila eh and that 21 percent is based on the gross salary. 

So if you receive 100,000 as a government office head, official, 18,000 not 21,000, ‘yun ang rule diyan. But in the case of the SSS, for a long, long time, for the longest time, mga 11 percent lang. And the problem with the SSS scheme, ng contribution, it is only based on 16,000. 

So if you receive 20,000 ‘yung 11 percent mo is based lang sa 16,000. So the proposal is just to really rationalize it but it is as President Dooc is saying, iga-gradualize natin so  that hindi naman masyadong mabigat ang magiging bahagi, ang burden niyan. 

But the context here is in the long run, the priority is the internal reform. ‘Pag gumanda ho yung result ng internal reform natin, lumaki ho ‘yung investment reserve natin, baka hindi na natin kailangan pang magdagdag. That’s why iyon hong reform na ‘yan which we will do ang may duty diyan, the burden to make it successful, hindi lang ho ‘yung SSS eh. Kaya ‘yang mga employer has the burden. The employees ‘yung mga working force natin had the obligation to register not just because we want that they register but because it is for their protection in the future. 

But if we succeed in the next two or three years, baka ho ‘yung mga increase-increase na ‘yan baka hindi na natin pag-uusapan. 

Zen Hernandez (ABS-CBN): Hello, sir, good afternoon. Just a couple of clarifications before I actually ask my questions. First of all, ‘yung 1,000 increase, sirs, when will the pensioners receive this? 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Yeah, I’ll ask President Dooc. 

PRESIDENT DOOC: Based on the statement earlier made by Secretary Abella ‘no when he read the statement of the President, this will take effect this month if I am not mistaken ano po. 

Pero maaari pong — because of some systems requirement dahil kailangan po ng say re-computation, kailangan namin mag-prepare ng table there maybe a slight delay. Siguro kasi hindi ho namin mai-finalize because it was only today and technically siguro last night that we found out how much will be the approved increase ‘no.

So kailangan po nating gawan ng formula iyan para hindi mano-mano ang pagkwenta ng mga benepisyo ng bawat pensionado. Pero madali lang po namin gagawin ‘yan. At kami po ay may nakalaan ng pondo para ibayad sa 1,000 increase at least for the six months. 

Ms. Hernandez: Pero gaano po katagal ‘yung inaasahang slight delay, sir? 

PRESIDENT DOOC: Maaari pong may slight delay pero iyan po ay aming pagsusumikapan na ma-resolve agad upang huwag masiphayo ang mga pensionado sapagkat ito po ay nabanggit na ng ating mahal na Pangulo na ibibigay ngayong buwan. 

Ms. Hernandez: All right. Pero is it safe to say that the latest will be by next month or… 

PRESIDENT DOOC: Dalawa po kasi ‘yung kailangan nating i-compute. Una, ‘yung pagdagdag ng 1,000 na siguro sa tingin ko mas madali iyon ano. 

The second one, eh ‘yung contribution naman na…Ay hindi ‘yung sa pension po madali lang po ‘yon kasi ‘yung sa computation doon sa additional contribution and the increase in monthly salary credit kasi nagkakaiba-iba po ‘yon. 

So ‘yung first part po is the pension increase which we will be implementing this month. Hindi po ganung… 

Ms. Hernandez: Okay. So, okay na po ‘yung pension increase kaya within the month. So, I am also going there po doon… 

PRESIDENT DOOC: Next month. One month lang po ang hinihingi namin sa pension kasi may re-computation po ng kaunti. 

Ms. Hernandez: Okay, sir. So final answer, sir, at the latest would be February? 

PRESIDENT DOOC: February, we can effect the payment of the additional pension increase. But don’t be concerned about the fund. We have already set aside the fund for that. 

Ms. Hernandez: Okay, but on May 2017, we will have a contribution increase. Can you explain to us, sir, how this will be implemented? 

PRESIDENT DOOC: Iyon po kasing as I pointed out dalawa po ang twin interventions na aming ipinanukala na tinanggap naman ng Gabinete. Una po ‘yung sa pagdagdag ng contribution na 1.5 percent. Iyon pong detalye niyan ay amin pang lilinawin at pag-uusapan. 

Ang una pong mahalagang tanong ‘yan, paano po paghahatian ‘yung contribution na additional na 1.5? Sa kasalukuyan po kasi ‘yung 11 percent contribution which is shared by the employer and the employee is roughly divided into 1/3 is paid for the by the employee and 2/3 by the employer. 

Ngayon  po ang tanong iyon  po bang karagdagan na 1.5 percent ay ganun ding hatian ang ating susundin o parehas or to be equally shared between the employee and the employer? Iyon pong huling…The last time we had the contribution increase of .6 percent coming from 10.4 percent going up to the current 11 percent, eh iyan po ‘yung karagdagan na .6 percent was equally divided or shared between the employee and the employer. So iyon po ay kung paghahatian equally or we will follow the current 2/3 – 1/3 sharing. 

Ms. Hernandez: So subject to study pa, sir? 

PRESIDENT DOOC: Opo, pero meron na po kaming ano — ipapanukala diyan. 

Ms. Hernandez: All right. But as we speak, sir, is the 1.5 percent increase all that we need in order to be able to afford the 1,000 pension increase?

 

PRESIDENT DOOC: For this year po iyan po ang aming ipinanukala pero you will note in our presentation made by our Chairman in the Cabinet last night that there will be, as I have said, we have calibrated our response so as the impact of the burden of additional contribution would be less felt by the — those who will bear the burden. 

Ms. Hernandez: Opo, kasi.

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Just a clarification ‘yon ‘yung 1.5 increase in the contribution and the proceeds of the lifting is not for the additional benefit. Okay. Let’s not call it additional pension kung ‘di technically it should be called additional benefit.

And all this increase in the contribution is for the investment reserve para mapalaki natin doon because actually nanggagaling ‘yung pension at saka other benefit from the proceeds of our investment in the collect — ‘yung current collection. So this is the scheme. But ‘yung additional contributions later will go directly to the reserve not for the increase in the benefit which is 1,000. 

Ms. Hernandez: Pero can you clarify lang, sir, kasi parang we heard earlier na may yearly na 1.5 increase na kakailanganin? 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: May threshold of aabot ng 17 over a stretch of six years. But as I said, dadagdagan next year but the point is we will always look into our efficiency, pagagandahin natin ‘yung investment income. Down the line baka hindi mo na kailangan mag-increase pa additionally. So it will just be the stopgap measure para ma-ensure natin ‘yung sustainability because we want that the baseline will be — no less than 25 years sana. That the pension will stay, will stay. The most ideal time that the pension should have a lifetime should be 75 years or parang in perpetuity one lifetime. That’s our objective, oo. 

Ms. Hernandez: So basically, sir, susubukan natin na hindi na kakailanganing ipatupad ‘yung increase in the coming years?

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Yes. In fact, we had — eh ‘yung opex namin binawasan na namin ng 1 billion ngayon so that’s the already first step na ginagawa natin. 

So there are a lot of interventions which we cannot detail here. In fact, even in demonetizing, monetization ng mga pending loans, ‘yung mga collectible namin is in the pipeline para we could be able to raise more funds for the investment. 

Ms. Hernandez: So, last two questions, sir. So as we speak because of the contribution increase that we are expecting by May, hindi po naapektuhan ‘yung lifespan? 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ:  No, no, not at all. Temporarily bababa ng 2032 between May, between January and May but at the end of the year, balik uli sa 2040. This first year. 2042 ‘yung baseline eh. 

So because of this initial grant of additional benefit, magtu-2040. Pero pagkatapos ‘non, makakapag-recover na naman tayo unti-unti. That’s why we are very confident that we could really shore up the actuarial life of the fund. 

Ms. Hernandez: Last question na lang, sir. Hindi po possible ‘yung walang contribution increase at all? Was… Na-explore ba yung subsidy ng government? 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: It’s possible but you are dancing on the edge of the well eh. If you want that metaphor. Para kang naglalaro sa tabi ng well. We don’t want that. We have to have a safe — safety net. 

Safety net lang ito, Zen, as any prudent manager should be prudent enough. And dito naman, very strong ang ating economic managers because they are strong as far as funds are concerned. 

Ms. Hernandez: Pero can you explain, sir, why that is not a very good option? Kasi — 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Which one? 

Ms. Hernandez: The government providing subsidy kasi as we speak, may mga nagpaplano na po na mag-oppose din doon sa contribution increase. 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Well, under the charter, the option of last resort is the government but it — it has always been a good attitude that you get the fund grow by itself. We should create that really, self-reliance because if an institution like the SSS would be a dependent institution, that will be permit into the other sector of society, that is the article of faith of this administration: self-reliance. Even in foreign policy, it’s self-reliance. 

Kaya during the six years of the administration, you will repeatedly see the words and the actions of the President on the self-reliance of the Filipino people.  

Trisha Macas (GMA News Online): Hi, sir, good afternoon. I just want to ask po kung gaano na po ka-efficient yung collection ng SSS natin ngayon? And how much po ‘yung inaasahan natin na kikitain ng SSS once we go after the employers na hindi actively nire-remit yung premiums ng kanilang employees? 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Alam mo ‘pag mahirap na tanong, ipinapasa ko kay President Dooc eh.   

PRESIDENT DOOC: Bago ko po harapin ‘yung inyong katanungan, gusto ko lang pong mag-komento doon sa tanong kanina na kung kailangan ang government subsidy? 

Wala po kaming ipinanukala sa aming presentation or in any of our discussion that we will be banking on government subsidy or assistance. Wala po ‘yan sa aming ideya. We want to internally generate the required funding so that we can pursue this program which, as termed by, as referred to by Secretary Abella, the fulfillment of a social contract. ‘Di ho ba? So kami po ay masaya na makakatulong kami at ‘yan po ay gagawin namin lahat ng aming makakaya upang maisakatuparan ‘yung social contract na ‘yon. 

Hindi sa pamamagitan ng government subsidy o tax subsidy. Natanong din po, bakit hindi dapat tayong umasa sa government support? 

Ang kasagutan pong ‘yan ay sinabi ng mahal nating Kalihim ng Pananalapi. Napakaganda po ng paliwanag niya diyan kung bakit hindi dapat umasa sa tax subsidy or government support itong funding being required by the pension increase. 

Sabi po niya, eh ang nakikinabang lang nito ay ang mga pensiyonado ‘no, which is roughly to over two million out of the total membership of 34 million plus in our SSS. So maliit na portion ng ating populasyon ‘yung makikinabang dito. So bakit natin gagamitin ang pondo ng lahat ng mamamayan ‘no? 

Pangalawa po, sinabi rin niya na, kung ating gagastusin dito sa karadagang pension ang pera ng mga mamamayan, eh we will be depriving other worthy programs of government ‘no na nangangailangan din ng karampatang funding. 

So ako po ay sumasaludo sa ating mga economic managers sa kanilang pagpapaliwanag na ‘yan. Kaya kami po ay gagawin namin ang lahat ng aming magagawa upang internally we can generate funds through enhanced collection efficiency, better procedures and system para mapagsilbihan namin nang tapat at kalugod-lugod ang ating mga kasapi ‘no. So ilan lang po ‘yan sa aming mga mungkahi. Ang katanungan po ninyo ay ano ‘yung mga…? 

Ms. Macas: Sir, just to repeat my question. How will—again, ano na po ‘yung, gaano na po ka-efficient ‘yung collection rate ng SSS right now, and then ano po ‘yung expected natin na ma—kikitain or earnings natin once you go after the employers? 

PRESIDENTE DOOC: Ako po bilang Pangulo ng SSS ay hindi ko po itinatanggi na hindi gaanong masinop kami sa paglikom ng mga kontribusyon ’no kaya mahina po ang aming collection efficiency ‘no.

Iba- iba pong numbers ang ating nakikita at narinig na, may nagsalita po sa Kongreso na ‘yan daw po ay mahigit tatlong daang bilyon. 

Meron din pong findings ang COA na sinasabi na ‘yung large account plus the branch account, delinquent accounts ay umaabot sa 13 — 13 billion, 500 million. So masyado pong malayo ang pagitan ‘no. 

Ayaw ko pong magsabi ng aming numero because it may appear like it is self-serving ‘no. Pero ‘yun pong aming numero higit na mababa ‘no. But as I have mentioned, I won’t cite it kasi parang nagpapa-pogi kami. 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ:  Bigyan ko lang ng additional kuwan, flavor ‘yung kay President Dooc. One answer to that is technology. We will be implementing a technology where — halimbawa, may utang ka sa SSS, at sa 15 ay due ‘yung utang mo, makaka-receive ka na ng text. ‘Your monthly payment for your loan is due on the 15th.’ 

Sa 15 kung hindi ka nakapag-bayad automatic, automatic nasa server na namin. Sasabihin sayo na hindi ka nakapag-bayad, kasi marami namang hindi nakakapag-bayad because nakakalimutan lang ‘yan. 

But that goes also to our record na sinasabi, na itong account na ito, hindi nakakapag-bayad. So with the introduction of that kind of technology, we can increase our efficiency by at least 20 to 30 percent. 

Ms. Macas: Sir, another question. You earlier said na baka may second 1,000 na increase due 2019 or 2022. Is this approved by the President already? Or — 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Yeah, kasama sa package ‘yan eh, but this is 2022 ‘yan, but ‘yung pagbibigay natin na additional 1,000 is subject to conditionalities, okay. 

So it is also subject to conditionality kung ibibigay namin earlier because we were able to improve our efficiency. That’s why it’s a self-imposed, a self-imposed pressure on us dahil gusto naman naming ibigay earlier, but para maibigay namin we have to improve our efficiency. 

So lahat will be affected by this initiative on our part, because the increase, the additional benefit of 1,000 this month is actually is a strategy for reform. You have to look at it as a strategy for us to reform the system. And this starts with the 1,000 pesos. 

Ms. Macas:  So hindi naman po 2,000 ‘yung in-approve ng President? But with…. 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: In-approve niya 2,000, kaya nga lang staggered nga. Hindi ba? 

Ms. Macas:  Okay, so ngayon po muna 1,000 and then if depende po sa — 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Sa 2022 ang aming deadline—our objective, pero kung magagawan ng paraan na earlier — kung magagawan ng paraan na 2018, bakit hindi natin gawin ng 2018? 

Ibig sabihin — what I mean is that we will work hard — the employers which I am now calling the attention of the employers to really pay the contributions. Para ‘yung delivery ng tinatawag nating increase of benefits ay maibibigay natin sa kanila. 

Rose Novenario (Hataw): Good afternoon po. Sir, may nagkaroon na po ba o magkakaroon po ba ng audit sa pondo ng SSS kung, para malaman po kung saan ito napunta ng previous years o nailagak ito sa tamang investments? 

PRESIDENT DOOC: It is a regular operational requirement that an audit of SSS funds and operations is conducted every year. Iyan po ay kasalukuyang ginagawa na ng COA. 

Ms. Novernario: So ano po ‘yung assurance ng mga miyembro na ilalagak sa tamang investment ang SSS funds considering po na nagkaroon ng iskandalo doon ng inilagak sa BW resources po ‘yung pondo ng SSS, nalugi at nakasama po plunder trial ni dating Presidente Joseph Estrada? 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Alam mo, just to aside — as an aside. You’re looking at the man that we need. His record at the Insurance Commission will speak for itself. 

Nagawa niyang successful ‘yung Insurance Commission, the success that he has made in the Commission, he will also do it at the SSS, si President Dooc. 

Ms. Novernario: Thank you po, hindi po mauulit ‘yung nangyari doon sa BW resources? 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Well as long as we are there, hindi mauulit po ‘yan. 

Ms. Novernario: Thank you. 

Henry Uri (DZRH): Magandang hapon po. Ano ho ang paliwanag ninyo sa publiko na ang pagkalalaki ho nitong kinikita ng mga SSS officers. For example ‘yung dati hong Presidente with all due respect, si Ginoong Emilio de Quiroz, na kumita ng 6.5 million a year. Iyong kanilang Executive Vice-President 4.2 plus, meron ho silang —sampung senior Vice-President, meron pong walong Vice-President.

Ano po ang paliwanag ninyo sa publiko na sa kabila po ng dalawang libo lang ang hinihingi, isang libo lang ang naipagkaloob, ganito ho kalalaki ang kinikita kada taon ng mga opisyales ng SSS? 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Iyong allowances as far as the commission members are concerned alam niyo, I want to confess, wala hong sweldo ‘yung mga members ng commission. We are not plantilla position, we are just given honorarium. 

So I could speak for myself that 6 million as far I’m concerned is a dream come true hanggang  ngayon ‘no.  So we are not in the plantilla. We look into the salary scheme. I am not yet privy, hindi ako privy doon sa last year. But we will review the salary arrangement ng SSS. 

But SSS is like any modern corporation na you need efficient, professional people who deserve to be compensated. Sa ngayon ang aming approach diyan is kung magkakaroon ng mga increase doon sa salary or bonuses, it will be indexed doon sa performance. Kaya titingnan natin na-increase ba natin ‘yung collection? Dumami ba ang membership? And then we will properly compensate them. 

If we compensate them as high as possible but they did as high as possible in the efficiency scale, we have to look at the positive side not at the negative side. But we will not allow, we will not allow the compensation to interfere sa benefit na that will due to our members. 

Mr. Uri: Pangalawang tanong Chairman, mayroon ho bang particular na direktiba sa inyo ang Pangulo para habulin ninyo ho ‘yung mga may utang na employer sa SSS at ano ho ang tulong na maipagkakaloob ninyo sa mga empleyado naman na naghahabol sa SSS na ang payo palagi ay kasuhan ‘yung employer pero dahil pobre nga ho, wala namang pambayad ng abugado, ang tagal po ng paghahabol, paano ho ninyo sila tutulungan? 

PRESIDENT DOOC: Salamat po sa inyong katanungan. Kami po ay we have crafted specific measures or interventions in order to improve the collection efficiency, which is the heart of your query. 

Sa totoo po, ito po ang una kong babanggitin sapagkat ito po ay nangangailangan ng suporta ng mahal nating Pangulo through maybe the issuance of an Executive Order para mapalago at masiguro ang pangongolekta ng mga contribution.  

We will appeal that the President issues an Executive Order requiring all participants in government biddings ‘no under the procurement law na mag-submit sila ng SSS clearance bago sila makasali sa any bidding na mag-supply ng kagamitan o magtayo ng gusali, construction or whatever.  

Para po makasiguro tayo na iyang malalaking korporasyon na ‘yan na mag-a-undertake ng mga projects for the government ay nagbabayad ng contribution ng kanilang mga empleyado. 

Pangalawa po, we also hope that we can make mandatory that every OFW na sa kasalukuyan po ay voluntary members lamang ng SSS, bago makalipad o makalayag o makapunta sa kanilang pagtratrabahuhan sa Middle East o saan mang lugar sa mundo ay maging miyembro ng SSS. 

Iyan po ay nagawa in the case of insurance nang magpasa ng batas noong 2010, ‘yung Compulsory Insurance Coverage for OFWs. So sana po we can replicate that success story in SSS. So mapapalawak po natin ang miyembro.  

Lahat ng OFW ay magiging kasapi ng SSS sapagkat sila po ay may kapasidad na magbayad ng mas mataas na kontribusyon kaysa sa mga lokal nating manggagawa. 

Lahat po ng kumpanya or business entities na maga-apply ng panibagong business permit sa mga local governments ay hihilingin po natin ang mga LGUs na mahigpit na ipatupad na hindi makapagre-renew ng business permits ang mga naga-apply nito kung wala silang SSS clearance. 

So iyan po ay ilan sa ating mga…Bago ko po makalimutan, lahat ng professional na magre-rehistro or magre-renew ng lisensiya sa Professional Regulations Commission ay kailangan din pong mag-submit ng SSS clearance. So we can widen the network, we will have larger membership. 

Mr. Uri: Pero yun hong mga, ‘yun hong kasalukuyan problema ngayon ng napakaraming mga manggagawa na kapag nag-loan ka sa SSS wala kang maloan kasi walang contribution yung employer, paano ho ninyo sila tutulungan na mahabol ang mga ito at maresolba ‘yung kanilang problema? 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Dalawang problema diyan kasamang Henry. Iyong una, nakapagbayad na pero hindi pa na-post sa account. Kaya minsan nagfo-float eh. So we have solved that through technology. Pagdating ng panahon, siguro in one month time, pagbayad sa bangko in real time nandodoon na rin, nakapost na. 

Siguro what’s important is the employees. Mag-register na sa SSS maski hindi pa sila member, hindi pa sila employed because we will be opening up SSS to pre-registration of even those who are not yet employed. Ang advantage niyan is basta ibinigay mo ngayon yung number wala ng lag time kasi aapply ka pa, the administrative process takes time.  

So ‘pag isinubmit mo na yung number mo at nag-report agad yung employer o ikaw mismo nag-report ka na empleyado ka na dito, then we take over and monitor the payment of your employer. So ganoon ho ang gagawin natin kaya ‘yung mga ibang problems in the past na delay doon sa pag-verify kung nakapagbayad na or hindi or delay doon sa remittance ng mga employers because we have a system to check on that immediately. Iyong employer will have to be very punctual in reporting and making the proper remittance and this is all answered by the technology, which we will be introducing in the system. 

Mr. Uri: All right. Thank you, Chairman. 

CHAIRMAN VALDEZ: Maraming salamat. Thank you.