By Mario Casayuran
Senator Richard J. Gordon said Friday that giving the Social Security Commission (SSC) the power to condone delinquent contributions is a very significant provision of the Social Security Act of 2019 or Republic Act 11199 which was signed by President Duterte into law last week.
With the Social Security System (SSS) able to launch a condonation program without having to wait for authority from the President, the state pension fund would be able to generate more funds faster and ensure its long-term viability, Gordon, chairman of the Senate government corporations and enterprises committee, explained.
“Kailangan natin ang perang malilikom sa condonation. Dahil sa dagdag na P1,000 na pensyon na binigay natin sa mga retiradong miyembro ng SSS, na talaga namang kailangan nila, lumiit ang fund life ng SSS mula 2042 at ito’y naging hanggang 2032 na lamang. Ang ibig sabihin nito, kung wala tayong gagawing karampatang hakbang, hanggang 2032 na lang ang pondo ng SSS,” he said. (We need to have funds under the condonation program. SSS funds are shrinking because of the P1,000 pension given to retired SSS members. Because of this, the scheduled 2042 fund life of SSS will end in 2032. And we have to do something about it.)
Gordon explained that condonation programs in the past had been a very good source of revenue for the SSS.
In 2010, when the SSS implemented RA 9903 or Gordon’s “Social Security Condonation Law of 2009,” the SSS collected P3.5 billion from 24,042 delinquent employers.
In similar condonation programs, the SSS collected P159 million in 1986 and P859-million in 1997 when it implemented Executive Order 28 and RA 8282, respectively.
Gordon, author of the new SSS law, stressed that the law wants employers to contribute for the welfare of their employees, hence its intention is to collect and not to put employers to jail.
“Lalaki ang pondo, hahaba ang buhay ng SSS. Matutuwa ang mga negosyante dahil imbes na lumaki ng lumaki ang utang nila, mako-condone, magbabayad sila at makakapagsimula ulit sila,” he said. (The funds will grow, the life span of SSS will be lengthened. Businessmen, under a condonation agreement, will have a breathing spell instead of their debt growing larger. They then will have the capacity to pay and start anew.)
Gordon pointed out that the law provides sanctions for employers who will persist on being delinquent.
Penalties include imprisonment ranging from not less than six years and one day to twelve years and fine ranging from not less than P5,000 to P20,000.
“We don’t want to put employers into jail. But if they insist on being delinquent employers we will not hesitate to put them in jail,’’ Gordon added.