Wednesday, October 18, 2017

More than 12,000 backpacks distributed to Surigao Norte pupils

By John Glenn A. Platil

SURIGAO CITY, Oct. 18 (PIA) – A total of 12,873 backpacks containing school supplies, reading materials, books, grooming items, health stuff and personal hygiene kits were distributed to pre-schoolers and grade one pupils in public schools across Surigao del Norte province during the Education Caravan 2017.

The series of caravans covering the schools in mainland and island barangays is a priority initiative of Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas.

Matugas was a former Regional Director of Department of Education (DepEd) Caraga and is still deeply committed to help shape the future of young individuals.

“We have to invest something in our youth because they are the stakeholders and prime movers of tomorrow. It’s important for us to address the needs of the schoolchildren and proactively contribute anything that would put a smile on their face by providing some of their necessities,” said Matugas.

In the mainland, a total of 5,804 backpacks were received by pre-schoolers. There were 326 school bags for the municipality of Sison, 554 in Placer, 333 in Tagana-an, 361 in Tubod, 286 in Bacuag, 305 in San Francisco, 460 in Malimono, 427 in Alegria, 862 in Claver, 1325 in Gigaquit, 281 in Mainit District I and 284 in Mainit District 2.

In Siargao, around 3,990 backpacks were also received by school children, while more or less 3,079 backpacks were distributed to public schools in the city.

Matugas, together with Vice Governor Arturo Carlos Egay, Jr., strengthened their shared advocacy in line with HEALS Plus (Health, Education and Environment, Agri-Aquaculture, Livelihood and Tourism and Social Service, Spirituality, Senior Citizens and Security) program, the flagship agenda of the provincial government.

The caravan wrapped up at General Luna Central Elementary School. The pupils, together with their parents and teachers, gladly expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the lady governor and her company. (VLG/PGO-SDN/PIA-Surigao del Norte)


SSS cites higher benefits from coverable income adjustment

SURIGAO CITY, Oct. 18 – Social Security System (SSS) said the estimated monthly pension of a member with at least 30 paying years will increase to P20,300 from the current maximum pension of P10,900 by 2026, if the coverable income increases to P30,000 in five years as part of its proposed reform agenda.

Benefits such as maternity, sickness and funeral, which are also computed based on the monthly salary credit (MSC), will also increase once the reform agenda is implemented.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said the success of the proposed SS Reform Act of 2017, which is currently being deliberated at the committee level in the Senate, will improve the benefits for members and pensioners.

“The estimated pension could increase to as much as P20,300 by 2026. As we have proposed earlier, the adjustment in MSC should increase gradually every year, starting with P20,000 next year, P25,000 in 2020, and P30,000 in 2021. As we increase the coverable income or the MSC, the benefits also increase because this is the basis for the computation of SSS benefits,” Dooc said.

He explained that benefits are computed based on the member's MSC and credited years of service (CYS) or the number of years he paid SSS contributions.

Under the current maximum MSC of P16,000 and monthly contribution rate of 11 percent (shared by employer and employee for employed members), the maximum basic monthly pension is only P10,900 for a member who retires with at least 30 CYS.

With the contribution rate increase and MSC ceiling adjustment to P30,000, sickness benefit per day of P480 based on the current maximum average daily salary credit of P533 will increase to P900.

Likewise, maternity benefits for caesarian delivery will increase from P41,600 to P78,000 while those who will undergo normal birth will get P60,000 from the current P32,000 under the proposed P30,000 maximum MSC.

Moreover, funeral benefit due from a member's account with at least 120 contributions at P30,000 MSC six months before death will increase to P38,000 from the current P29,600.

Dooc earlier expressed his hopes that the contribution increase will be implemented by January 2018, after the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) bill and the passage of the SS Reform Act of 2017.

“We are really hoping for the passage of this bill, which according to Senator Gordon is a landmark bill. This will not only ensure the viability of the pension fund for the current and future members but it will also improve the benefits being enjoyed by our contributing-members. For a minimal increase in their monthly contribution, a potful will be added to their benefits and pension,” Dooc said.


He said the economic managers in the Cabinet maintained that additional contributions are necessary to keep the state fund running, even with the pension increase. (SSS/PIA-Surigao del Norte)