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SSS pledges strong social security protection for Filipino seafarers

SSS pledges strong social security protection for Filipino seafarers
John Lester M. Naguna May 17, 2024

MANILA, (PIA) -- The Social Security System (SSS) vowed to champion the social security benefits of Filipino seafarers following the creation of the Maritime Industry Tripartite Council (MITC) on Friday.

SSS President and CEO Rolando Ledesma Macasaet joined government agencies, labor groups, and ship owners in signing the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) establishing the MITC. The council, spearheaded by the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), aims to address maritime employment concerns and prioritize the well-being of Filipino seafarers.

“This agreement signifies our unwavering commitment to promoting the welfare of Filipino seafarers and their families,” Macasaet said. “SSS will provide financial assistance during emergencies like disability, sickness, maternity, unemployment, old age, funeral, and death.”

Macasaet urged Filipino seafarers to become SSS members, highlighting the advantages of social security protection for themselves and their loved ones. Currently, around 350,000 seafarers are registered with SSS.

Maximizing SSS benefits

Macasaet encouraged seafarers to make at least 120 monthly contributions to qualify for a lifetime monthly pension upon retirement. He emphasized that SSS membership goes beyond retirement benefits, as it also grants sickness, maternity, disability, unemployment, funeral, and death benefits to employed members.

“Seafarers contributing more than P20,000 monthly salary credit are automatically enrolled in the Workers’ Investment and Savings Program (WISP),” Macasaet explained. This program allows members to accumulate contributions and investment earnings, which they can receive as a monthly pension upon retirement if they exceeds P100,000.

The SSS chief also recommended WISP Plus, a voluntary program that allows seafarers to save additional funds for retirement. Members can contribute as little as P500 for this program, and their contributions will grow with tax-free investment earnings.

Composition of the Maritime Industry Tripartite Council

The DMW will chair the MITC, uniting various government agencies like SSS, DOLE, DFA, DOH, DOTr, DICT, CHED, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG, and NTC. Labor groups like TUCP, AMOSUP, and various seafarer unions will also have representatives in the council.

The management sector, meanwhile, will be represented by organizations like the Conference of Maritime Manning Agencies and the Filipino Shipowners Association. (JLN/PIA-NCR)