MANILA, March 27 — In its continuing campaign to extend social protection to informal sector workers, the Social Security System (SSS) has formalized a key partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) for the latter to fully subsidize farmers' monthly SSS contributions as self-employed members.
The agreement is expected to benefit up to 200,000 agricultural workers nationwide who may qualify for the subsidy as members of Rural Based Organizations (RBOs) or Community Extension Workers (CEWs) in good standing, with 100 farmers already selected as the first batch of beneficiaries.
Despite their invaluable role in our nation's food security, farmers often struggle with seasonal incomes and their livelihood's vulnerability against typhoons, floods and other whims of nature.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. and Agricultural Secretary Proseso Alcala signed the agreement during ceremonies at the DA Main Office in Diliman, Quezon City on March 14, with SSS Senior Vice President Judy Frances See and DA-Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) Director Asterio Saliot in attendance as witnesses.Apart from farmers, fisherfolk will also be added to the list of beneficiaries for the subsidized SSS contributions. At present, over 450,000 farmers and fisherfolk are covered by SSS as self-employed members.
The DA-ATI, with RBOs and CEWs as its partners, implements extension and training activities to promote state-initiated food sufficiency programs and other priority thrusts of the DA. The subsidy for SSS contributions forms part of DA-ATI's compensation for the qualified members of RBOs and designated CEWs. Included in the list of RBOs are Rural Improvement Clubs (RIC); the youth-based 4H Clubs; Pambansang Mananalon, Mag-uuma, Magbabaul, Magsasaka (P4MP); Magsasaka Siyentista (MS); and Indigenous People (IP).
The subsidies will be based on P3,000 monthly salary credit, which is equivalent to a contribution of P330 per month. DA-ATI Regional Offices will remit the contributions to SSS quarterly via bank deposits as well as submit a regular payment list showing the beneficiaries of the monthly subsidies.
The chosen beneficiaries have the option to increase their monthly contribution, on top of the subisidized amount, to become entitled to higher SSS benefits and loans in the future.
Many farmers and fisherfolk lack social security coverage and face difficulties in remitting regular contributions. This is something that SSS aims to address through initiatives such as its new partnership with DA. (PNA)