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Number of self-employed Pinoys on the rise – SSS data

May 3, 2013 4:59am
The number of self-employed Filipinos is continuously increasing, according to year-on-year data from the Social Security System (SSS). From 19.35 percent in 2009, the rate increased by 0.34 percent to 19.69 percent in 2010 before becoming 20.06 percent in 2011.

However, citing data from the National Statistical Coordination Board, Balitanghali's Bam Alegre reported that self-employed workers are part of the informal workers sector, and this sector is among the four (behind children, farmers and fishermen) that receives the least amount of government service and benefits.

And, to make a bad situation worse, a fifth of the self-employed fall below the poverty line.

Although technically employed, the biggest problem self-employed workers face is that they earn inconsistently – they do not earn set amounts at set periods.

They, therefore, are unable to contribute to social services such as the SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-ibig.

“Ay wala po. Iniingatan na lang po namin 'yung mga sarili namin,” replied Jun Mangasi, who works as a kalesa driver's assistant, when asked if he contributed to the government's social services.

“Ewan ko kung kailan ko sisimulan [maghulog],” Mangasi added.

The Department of Labor and Employment pointed out that this was a risky situation for the self-employed.

“Kung magkakaroon ng mga shocks, o sakuna, o 'yung ma-threaten sila ng pagkawala ng trabaho, sila ay maco-cover ng SSS kaya napakahalaga niyan,” explained Undersecretary Acong Lagunsad.

Which is exactly the situation Mangasi found himself in before. “Ako po ay [dati] isang taxi driver. Nawalan po ako ng hanapbuhay kaya napili ko pong magpakain ng kabayo,” he said.

He also admited that his present job is a difficult one, “Naku! Ang hirap po kasi hihintayin ninyo pa po na umihi sila [ang mga kabayo] bago pakainin.”

SSS contribution hike

Meanwhile, President Benigno Aquino III, on the eve of the Labor Day holiday, said that it might be time to raise the monthly contributions to the SSS.

Aquino reasoned that the contribution rate had only increased twice since 1980 while pension rates had increased steadily. This will eventually bankrupt the SSS, if not addressed.

In an interview with GMA 7's Unang Balita host Arnold Clavio, SSS vice president for public affairs Marissu Bugante said that their total assets currently amount to P350 billion.

This places the system in a precarious position. “Ang haba ng buhay ng pondo ay hanggang 2039. Ang talagang ideal sana na haba ng buhay ng isang pension fund ay 50 to 70 years,” explained Bugante.

She added that increasing the monthly contribution will be beneficial for new members who, after some 40 years, will need to rely on pension funds and free government services.

She noted that the contribution rate is currently at 10.4 percent and the suggested increase will be 0.6 percent making the contribution rate 11 percent.

Currently, employers shoulder roughly 7 percent of the contribution rate while employees pay for the remaining 3 percent.

So if a member has a monthly wage of P10,000, the SSS member and the employer will both have to pay an additional P30 for the monthly SSS contribution.

“Magiging effect niyan ay 7 percent increase sa benefits nang ating members,” Bugante said.,

She added that they had consultative meetings with private sector employers who agreed to the contribution hike. The hike could be ratified through a presidential executive order.

Implementation was tentatively set for June of this year. Andrei Medina/DVM, GMA News
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