Wednesday, November 22, 2017

SSS to implement real-time posting of contribution payments

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 22 – Social Security System (SSS) is set to implement the electronic Collection System (e-CS) to enable the real-time posting of contribution payments from SSS branch tellering facilities and other payment channels by first quarter of 2018.  

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said that real-time posting of contributions will allow faster processing of claims to help members and their beneficiaries receive their benefits and loan proceeds on time.

All SSS benefits and loans are based on contributions of members and their employers.  Thus, it is important that these payments are recorded correctly and promptly. Otherwise, they may not immediately qualify for certain benefits and loans.

“For instance, to avail of a sickness benefit, a member must have at least three posted contributions in the last 12 months immediately before his semester of sickness or injury.  If any of his required contributions were not posted, he cannot apply yet for a sickness benefit,” explained Dooc. 

Dooc said that the pilot phase of the project will aim for near real-time processing of contribution payments from SSS branch tellering facilities within the year 2017. This means that contributions will be posted within 24 hours from the time of payment.

The pension fund has 279 branches nationwide, 96 of which accepts payments. It also has 81 accredited partner-banks and 10 non-bank collection partners. As of August 2017, SSS collected P106 billion in contributions from its various payment facilities.

“About 66 percent of our contribution collections were remitted through other payment channels aside from our tellering facilities, so we will make sure that our collection partners are in sync with our system to implement real-time posting of contributions,” Dooc said.

More than 34 percent of the remittances came from SSS branches amounting to P36 billion.  About 38 percent or P39.8 billion were paid through our ePayment partners like the Electronic Data Interchange facilities, overseas collection partners, Bayad Center, SM Payment Centers, and Auto-debit Arrangement program partners. 

The Social Security Commission, the policy-making body of the pension fund, approved the policy amendments, system and procedural enhancements, and resource requirements for the implementation of the e-CS to support continuous process improvements at the SSS.

“The Commission’s priority is to enhance the contribution-collection process. Not only will it improve the turn-around time for processing benefits, but it will also provide a detailed, accurate, and on-time data on our contribution-collection efficiency,” said SSC Chairman Amado Valdez. 

Valdez noted that there has been a significant increase in number of unposted member loan collections from P1.135 billion in 2016 to P817 million as of March 31, 2017. “Although we have managed to improve posting of member loan payments, we are still not happy with it, so we are pushing for process enhancements like real-time posting,” he added. 

Among the requirements for this process enhancement is for all employers and individual members, namely self-employed, voluntary and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) members to register in the My.SSS facility at the SSS website. 

The SSS shall generate the initial electronic Contribution Collection list (e-CL) for all regular and household employers and Statement of Account (SOA) for individual members.

“By logging in to their My.SSS account, employers will have access to their e-CLs, and SOAs for individual members.  The good thing about this facility is that they can review and edit their e-CL and SOA details should there be any changes," Dooc explained. 

In the case of employers, they can add newly hired employees and indicate separated employees.  For individual members, they can change the applicable period if they want to make advance payments for a year, and change the amount of contribution if their monthly earnings have increased or decreased.

Upon validation and confirmation of the e-CL or SOA, the e-CS shall automatically generate a Payment Reference Number (PRN) that will be used mandatorily by the employer or member in paying SSS contributions at any accredited payment facility. 

All bank and non-bank collection partners are required to shift to the e-CS using PRN as basis for payment acceptance.

“All SSS branch tellering facilities and non-bank payment partners will implement real-time posting of SSS contribution payments starting January 16, 2018.  All commercial and universal banks are required to convert their current manual processing of SSS contribution collections and report submission into the e-CS with PRN by February 4, 2018, and March 4, 2018 for all other banks,” Dooc concluded. (SSS/PIA-Caraga)


Police Regional Office 13 welcomes new director

By PCInsp Renel E. Serrano

BUTUAN CITY, Nov. 22 – The post for Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 Caraga regional director was formally relinquished to its new successor during the turnover ceremony on Nov.21 at the PRO 13 Caraga grandstand, here.

PCSupt. Noli Andrade Romana assumed the office, replacing PCSupt. Rolando Bacong Felix.

The turnover of command was officiated by PDDG Ramon Apolinario, the Deputy Chief of PNP for Administration as the guest of honor and speaker.

In his message, Apolinario encouraged the officers and men of PRO 13 Caraga to give the same amount of support and cooperation to Romana, as they did to Felix.

Further, Apolinario expressed his sincerest gratitude to the outgoing regional director as he bid good luck for the incoming regional director to continue to perform his sworn duty to the public, especially now that he has a bigger responsibility.

Said activity was also attended by the Provincial Governor of Agusan del Norte, Gov. Ma. Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba, 401st Brigade Commander Col. Andres Centino, 402ndBrigade Commander BGen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, and other regional advisory council members.

In his farewell speech, Felix expressed his sincerest thanks to all uniformed and non-uniformed personnel of PRO13 Caraga for carrying their daily tasks despite limited resources and facilities. He further expressed his gratitude to the local chief executives of Caraga for the untiring support to all PNP PRO13 programs and projects launched during his stewardship.

Meanwhile, Romana stressed his plans and programs for the region giving emphasis on the individual worth of every policeman – one who is well-trained, committed to his work, courageous, honorable and one who is looked up to by the public. He also emphasized the vital role of the media in informing the public on the PNP’s programs.

Romana, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Sinagtala” Class of 1986, is the 16th regional director of PRO 13. (PNP-Caraga/PIA-Caraga)


DTI-AgSur briefs San Francisco biz owners on additional provisions for senior citizens

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur, Nov. 22 – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Agusan del Sur (AdS) Provincial Office, together with the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur met with the local business establishments selling basic necessities and prime commodities on the added provisions for senior citizens.

The briefing and dialogue centered on the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 10623 or the Act Amending Certain Provisions of RA 7581 (Price Act) which redefines the terms “basic necessities” and “prime commodities.”

In her presentation, Cerila Inson of DTI-AdS Consumer Protection Unit said that based on the Joint Department of Trade and Industry-Department of Agriculture-Department of Energy (DTI-DA-DOE) Administrative Order (AO) No. 17-02, there were products reclassified as basic necessities from prime commodities and some new products added in the list of both basic and prime goods.

Accordingly, as provided in the law, senior citizens who purchase products listed in the basic necessities and prime commodities can avail of a five percent discount. The total amount of said purchase, however, shall not exceed the amount of P1,300.00 per calendar week without carry-over of the unused amount. Such amount shall be spent on items for personal consumption within the week, with the amount to be spent on at least four kinds of items in the list of basic commodities. 

Basic necessities include: all kinds and variants of rice, corn, all kinds of bread except pastries and cakes, fresh, dried and canned fish and other marine products (including frozen and various modes of packaging), fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, all kinds of fresh eggs (excluding quail eggs), potable waters in bottles and containers, fresh and processed milk (excluding milk labeled as food supplement), fresh vegetables including root crops, fresh fruits, locally manufactured instant noodles, coffee and coffee creamer, all kinds of sugar (excluding sweetener), all kinds of cooking oil, salt, powdered, liquid, bar laundry and detergent soap, firewood, charcoal, all of kinds of candles, household liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) not more than 11kgs. LPG content once every five months from LPG dealers and kerosene, not more than 2 liters per month.  

The law lists prime commodities to include: flour, dried, processed and canned pork, beef and poultry meat, dairy products, onions and garlic, vinegar, patis and soy sauce, toilet/bath soap, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, poultry feeds and fishery feeds, veterinary products, paper and school supplies, nipa shingle, sawali, cement, clinker, GI sheets, hollow blocks, plywood, plyboard, construction nails, batteries (excluding cellphone and automotive batteries), electrical supplies and light bulbs and steel wires.

Inson added, that to be able to avail of the five percent special discount, senior citizens shall purchase from supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience and mini-convenience stores and shops but excluding stalls in food courts, food carts, food vendors and sari-sari store with a capitalization of less than P100,000.00, public and private wet markets, talipapa and cooperative stores.

Ma. Rogelia Noja, OSCA head, reminds the business establishments to comply with the provisions of the law to avoid sanctions. (DTI-Agusan del Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


Negosyo Center in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur opens

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur, Nov. 22 – The Negosyo Center (NC) in Esperanza town has opened to serve micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), whether existing or still being planned in the municipality.

Mayor Leonida Manpatilan of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Esperanza in her welcome address during the blessing and opening ceremony shared that she initially thought that NCs were only for municipalities located along the highway.

She first articulated this sentiment when the Department of Trade and Industry-Agusan del Sur (DTI-AdS) visited her for the pilot implementation of Project Entrep (for bottom provinces) in her area, with the establishment of an NC as one of the project deliverables.

Manpatilan thanked DTI for being a partner and donor of the municipality’s industry projects and programs like E-Kawayan, Kaong Processing, coffee production, Yaman Pinoy, the bottom-up budgeting (BuB) program, the provision of Shared Service Facilities SSF) and the Negosyo Center. She expressed her hope that Esperanza will produce more and will be known for having unique products that DTI will help find markets for.

"In Esperanza, the legislative body also assures that we will support the programs of the executive, as we want to make our vision to become an agro-industrialized municipality a reality," Vice Mayor Eric Rey Siohan highlighted in support of the Mayor's statement.

OIC-Provincial Director Brenda Corvera of DTI-AdS encouraged Esperanza LGU officials and other stakeholders to support and pursue value adding activities from their agricultural produce and other commodities like kaong, coffee, vegetables, and bamboo among others.

Corvera added that Esperanza, being the pilot municipality of Project Entrep and Strike Team for Indigenous Peoples (IPs), has a clear goal of lowering the poverty incidence in the area. “Hopefully, this will be addressed by the joint efforts of DTI, LGUs and stakeholders of the NC; by linking enterprising groups or individuals to profitable and sustainable markets, in addition to other initiatives,” she said.

“The Chamber advocates better business climate in coordination with the LGUs and the national government agencies,” said Engr. Freddie C. Mero, President of Agusan del Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. (ADSCCIFI) in his closing statement.

He requested LGU Esperanza and DTI "not to stop giving their support as we move toward higher goals; to have products, registration of new businesses and provision of entrepreneurial trainings and seminars.”

NC Esperanza is established under DTI-AdS's Project Entrep. Under the project, NC mobile servicing and awareness sessions on DTI's programs and services have been conducted in at least 21 of Esperanza's 47 barangays. DTI vows to cover and reach out to the rest of the barangays through the new NC.

The opening event was also attended by NC Regional Coordinator Irene Lavilla, representing DTI-Caraga Regional Director Brielgo Pagaran, Integrated Producers of Agusan del Sur President Alicia Paglinawan, peoples’ organization of Esparanza, members of the Sangguniang Bayan and the LGU’s chiefs. (DTI-Agusan del Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)


Negosyo Center-Bunawan is now open for business

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur, Nov. 22 – Existing and would-be micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Bunawan, Agusan del Sur now have a center to go to for business assistance.

This is after Negosyo Center (NC)-Bunawan was launched on November 15, 2017.

The center is located at DJGR Building, Purok 2, San Teodoro, Bunawan.

NC-Bunawan is the 7th center established in the province and the 31st in the Caraga Region.

On behalf of OIC-Provincial Director Brenda Corvera of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Agusan del Sur (AdS), Jose Baron, Supervising Trade and Industry Development Specialist gave his opening statement to introduce the services of the center.

He mentioned that the establishment of the center is mandated by Republic Act 10644, otherwise known as “The Go Negosyo Act,” which is authored by Senator Bam Aquino.  The act pushed for the establishment of Negosyo Centers in all provinces, cities and municipalities.

He added that the center is equipped with facilities and staff to accommodate the requirements of the entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs. He also encouraged the people's organizations to engage into business and experience the services of the center.

Representing Mayor Edwin Elorde of Bunawan, Apollo Canoy, Executive Assistant IV expressed gratitude to the DTI for establishing a center in the municipality. He gave an assurance that the local government unit (LGU) of Bunawan will give its full support in operating the center. He also requested DTI to help Bunawan MSMEs find market for their produce. 

DTI Caraga Regional NC Coordinator Irene Macheca relayed the message of DTI Caraga Regional Director Brielgo Pagaran that the 2015 Agusan del Sur poverty incidence data places it among the top 13 poorest provinces. Although the province is one of the largest in terms of area and population, almost 40 percent of the 700,653 people are poor.

She then encouraged everyone to increase their daily income and to have at least P350.00 per day for a family of 5 members.

She further urged everyone to take advantage of the services of the center.

Engr. Freddie Mero, President of Agusan del Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation, Inc. (ADSCCIFI) called on the attendees to help promote the services of the Negosyo Center to encourage business.

"In business, there is income, then employment and then follows the responsibility to the government to pay taxes," he added.


NC Bunawan is now ready to receive applications for business name, barangay micro business enterprise (BMBE) registrations, do advisory services through one-on-one consultation and conduct seminars on entrepreneurship, skills training and product development enhancement. (DTI-Agusan del Sur/PIA-Agusan del Sur)