The Social Security System (SSS) primarily was established to provide social insurance for local workers employed in the private sector and extend membership to them to avail the social benefits.
Private establishments operating locally are required by law to collect and remit monthly contributions of their employees to SSS.
However, in the late 70s when the local employed workers start to work abroad, their monthly contributions to SSS also ceased.
So most of these workers have discontinued their monthly contribution to SSS whom they are dependent for work related protection and compensation in the event of accident, death and retirement.
Most of the workers working abroad who wanted to avail social insurance for themselves opt for a private life insurance instead while others who were already SSS members opt for a voluntary remittance to continue their contributions to the government insurance establishment.
Many workers who are not SSS members and started their career working overseas since the late 70s and years thereafter usually end up with no social insurance benefits to avail of in time of worker’s disability, burial and retirement.
Hence, the move by SSS to work hand in hand with Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) to ensure SSS coverage of millions of Filipino seafarers and land-based OFWs is a welcome development for this neglected heroes of our society.
The measure which include a regular SSS provision in employment contracts will enhance implementation of an SSS-POEA agreement that provides mandatory social security coverage for land based workers and seafarers, with the recruiting agency and the foreign principal or ship owner acting as employers.
SSS president and chief executive officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. said workers from the Middle East and Europe account for nearly a third of the US$ 1.7 billion (P74.5 billion) remittances to the country every month but a big number remain outside of SSS coverage.
The SSS seeking to extend its mantle of protection to every Filipino worker overseas, has launched a program to widen its coverage in the Middle East and Europe where many overseas Filipino contract workers were based.