A planned increase in mandatory dues in May may be averted with an increase in memberships and contributions from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), Social Security System (SSS) Chairman Amado Valdez has said.

“If there would be an additional 10 percent or 1.5 million (new members) coming in, we may not be increasing the contributions anymore in the future,” Philippine Star quoted Valdez as saying.

Earlier, Malacañang had announced that President Rodrigo Duterte approved a P1,000 SSS pension hike for retirees. The pension increase will be implemented this month. A second P1,000 pension increase can come by 2022, the report said.

However, the SSS plans to increase contributions collected from members by 1.5 percent, or to 12.5 percent from 11 percent, in May to compensate for the increased payouts.

Valdez reportedly said that the SSS would need an additional P32 billion for the pension increase, a Duterte campaign promise.
The original proposal had been for a pension increase of P2,000 but economic managers, including Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, opposed it, saying it would deplete the SSS’s funds, said the news portal.

Valdez reportedly said that while the present contributions and income are enough to pay for the increase, the fund’s lifespan will only be until 2032 or ten years earlier than originally projected.

He was quoted as saying that the government wants to make SSS membership compulsory for OFWs through legislation. He said this will assure OFWs of protection and will bring in member contributions that “would be very big.”

At present, OFWs can be voluntary members of the SSS. According to the SSS, 1.2 million of its 34.6 million members are OFWs. They accounted for P3.2 million, or 3 percent, of member contributions between January and September 2016, reported Philippine Star.

Valdez reportedly said that the SSS will be more secure if it manages to increase membership by 1.5 million.

“We will no longer demand additional contribution (if that happens),” Philippine Star quoted Valdez as saying.