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Butuan partners with DOLE-NRCO

By Diana Generalao

BUTUAN CITY, Mar. 1 (PIA) - In the implementation of R.A. 10022 or otherwise known as "The Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995," several partner agencies including the local government unit (LGU) of Butuan  have formally engaged in an undertaking with the Department of Labor and Employment – National Reintegration Center for OFWs (DOLE-NRCO), through a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signing, recently.

The recent move by the LGU of Butuan is focused on intensifying and updating its existing programs and corresponding services related to conducting relevant skills training for OFWs and their families through the Butuan City Manpower Training Center (BCMTC) and facilitating local and overseas employment through its Public Employment Services Office (PESO).

In addition to its current responsibilities, as stated in the MOA, the LGU of Butuan will also assign a Focal Person to facilitate the concerns of OFWs and their families, organize a group or committee that will provide appropriate services to the OFWs and their families, and assist in the identification, establishment, monitoring and evaluation of livelihood projects for OFWs and families.

Further, the MOA stipulates that programs shall be technology-driven, resource-based, and sustainable for OFWs and their families, and that the partner-agencies shall be responsible for providing trainings, technologies and resources.

Other partner agencies include the regional offices of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Public Service Employment Office, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Training Institute, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Commission on Higher Education, Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board, Professional Regulation Commission, National Food Authority, Social Security System, Home Development Mutual Fund – Pag-ibig, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Land Bank of the Philippines – Butuan City Branch, Land Bank of the Philippines – Butuan Lending Center, and Saint Joseph Institute Of Technology, Butuan City. (Butuan City PIO/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

SSS advises OFWs, self-employed and voluntary members to settle contribution underpayments

MANILA, Mar. 1 (PIA) - The Social Security System (SSS) called on self-employed and voluntary members, including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), to settle any contribution underpayments to ensure that their monthly premiums for January 2014 onwards are aligned with the new SSS Contribution Schedule.

Underpayments are caused by monthly contributions that were paid in advance and based on the old SSS contribution rate of 10.4 percent and maximum monthly salary credit (MSC) of P15,000. Starting January 2014, the contribution rate has increased by 0.6 percent to 11 percent, while the maximum MSC is now P16,000. Affected members include those who made advance payments prior to the announcement of the new SSS Contribution Schedule – such as self-employed and voluntary members –as well as members unaware of changes in the amount of contributions that took effect starting this year.

Self-employed and voluntary members who paid at the minimum MSC of P1,000 would have an underpayment of P6.00 per month. As for affected OFW-members who paid contributions based on their minimum MSC of P5,000, their underpayment would amount to P30.00 per month.

“Members can settle their underpayments at any SSS branch with tellering facilities, which are open from Mondays to Saturdays, or in any of our accredited local banks. They must use the SSS Form RS-5 and indicate that the amount paid is intended for settling their underpayment for the specified applicable months,” said Judy Frances See, SSS Senior Vice President for Account Management.

Meanwhile, affected self-employed, voluntary and OFW members with payments above the minimum MSC may opt to pay the corresponding increase in contributions to retain the posting of their payments at the same MSC. Otherwise, their contributions will be posted at the applicable lower MSC.

“We advise members to settle their underpayments and put their contribution records in order as early as now to avoid issues arising from 'out-of-bracket' payments. Members paying at the minimum MSC, in particular, will have their contributions deemed 'ineffective' if they fail to settle the corresponding underpayment that will complete the full amount of the minimum monthly contribution,” See added.

She urged members to strive to pay contributions at higher MSCs to benefit from bigger SSS benefits and salary loans. The MSC, which relates to the amount of the member's monthly income covered by contributions, serves as a major basis for computation of benefits and loanable amounts.

Members can view the new SSS Contribution Schedule and the SSS Advisory showing the list of underpayment amounts per MSC at the SSS Website (www.sss.gov.ph). Various SSS forms, including the RS-5 Form needed for settling contribution underpayments, are also downloadable from the SSS Website. (SSS/PIA-Caraga)