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Castelo’s case for ditching SSS premium hike: Kawawa ang mga kasambahay

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Citing the case of low-income workers like house helpers or “kasambahay”, Quezon City 2nd district Rep. Winston Castelo dissuaded the Social Security System (SSS) from imposing heftier contributions on its members later this year.

“Instead of increasing the rate of contribution from 11 percent to 12.5 percent, the government should just increase the maximum salary cap from the present PhP16,000 to PhP25,000,” Castelo said in a statement Thursday, January 12.

“This way we do not impose additional financial burden on low-wage earners and self-paying members, particularly the ‘kasambahay’ whose contributions are paid solely by their employers, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and self-employed individuals such as market vendors, tricycle and jeepney drivers, farmers, fishermen and other agricultural workers who pay contributions on their own,” he noted.

Castelo explained that the SSS allows for high-income earners to subsidize low- income earners, which is why the contribution rate is based on income. He said that this can be enhanced by increasing the maximum salary cap and keeping the current rate.

“The increase in salary cap should be enough to cover the projected financial requirement of the pension increase without burdening low-income earners and self-paying members.

“As it it, low-wage earners are already burdened with higher prices of electricity, water, and basic commodities. An additional contribution to SSS would further diminish their purchasing power and make their lives harder,” he pointed out.

The contribution increase will take place May, or just four months after the implementation of a P1,000 pension hike for retired SSS members.

This caused some to raise their eyebrows since as per the law a pension hike cannot be subsidized by an uptick in premium.