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Palace defends SSS, Philhealth contributions hike anew
Is the increase justified?

MANILA, Philippines – Is the increase in Social Security System (SSS) and Philhealth premiums justified?

In a statement read over government-run DZRB, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr defended anew the contibutions hike implemented on the first day of the new year.  

Coloma said the move was “a product of keen studies and consultations,” as the Palace made sure it would be affordable and reasonable. 

For Philhealth, the lowest monthly premium for minimum wage earners was increased to P200 from P100. Under the law, employers pay for 50% of Philhealth premiums while the remaining amount is shouldered by the employee. 

“Kung isasalin po natin sa araw-araw na halaga ay lampas lang po sa tatlong piso isang araw ang karagdagang bayarin o ambag,” Coloma said. (If we will translate this to the daily amount, it would mean that daily contributions would only increase to over P3.)

According to Malacañang, there is a need to raise Philhealth premiums to ensure a sustainable “social protection program” for those who need the assistance of the government. 

Coloma said over 80% of Filipinos are now members of Philhealth, including the 4 million families being subsidized by the government’s conditional cash transfer program – otherwise known as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. 

Under the new Philhealth contributions scheme, the premiums hike will not affect these “sponsored” members. 

Those who will be covered by the hike are employees, individually paying members and overseas Filipino workers. 

SSS, too

Meanwhile, Malacañang has increased SSS contributions to 11% of members’ monthly salary credit (MSC) from 10.4%, months after President Benigno Aquino III ordered such in his State of the Nation Address. 

At the same time, the MSC of employees has been increased to P16,000 from P15,000. 

MSC is the basis for computing the amount of members’ contributions. Currently, the minimum MSC is P1,000 and the maximum is P15,000. A member with a monthly salary of P1,000 to P1,249.99 has an MSC of P1,000. This means his or her contribution will be 11% of P1,000 or P110.

SSS implemented these measures to compensate for the SSS’ P1.078 trillion debt, Coloma said. With the increase, SSS is expected to earn P166 billion. 

Table from

Amid criticisms from some sectors, Coloma maintained that the decision to hike premiums was made after consultations with labor and business groups such as the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.  

Coloma also made note of the increase in benefits for SSS contributors. 

Under the new scheme, SSS will also raise the maximum daily allowance for health benefits to P480 from P450 while the maximum daily allowance for maternity benefits will be increased to P533 from P500. 

But some legislators believe the government should have looked for alternatives first before imposing the premiums hike.  

Earlier, Bayan Muna Rep Neri Colmenares said the SSS had “no moral authority to collect” the funds. The lawmaker claimed the SSS still had P90 billion in uncollected premiums. 

“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 said. 

Colmenares also took a swipe at SSS employees for receiving huge bonuses. In October 2013, it was revealed that SSS officials received a total of P9.3 million worth of bonuses even as the agency was then still mulling a hike in premiums. 

“President Benigno Aquino III should not have ordered the increase premium during his 2013 State of the Nation Address (SONA). President Aquino should now order SSS to desist from implementing this increased premium,” Colmenares said. 

In a Philippine Daily Inquirer report, Bayan Muna said it is considering filing an application for temporary restraining order on the SSS hike before the Supreme Court. – Angela Casauay/

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