Business groups appeal to defer PhilHealth, SSS hikes

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DUE to the economic distress brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, a business organization composed of micro, small and medium enterprises called for the deferment of the hikes in Philhealth and Social Security System (SSS) contributions.

Rey Calooy, Filipino-Cebuano Business Club (FilCeb) chairman, told SunStar Cebu that the 200-member group had been working to lobby to the national government for the deferment of the contribution hike.

“We are in the works of making an administrative appeal to the national offices of Philhealth and SSS to defer the hike as small businesses struggle with the ongoing pandemic. Once the World Health Organization declares the end of this pandemic, they can implement the hike,” he said.

In a report, PhilHealth said all direct contributors who are earning below P10,000 shall have their premium rate fixed at P350 per month in 2021.

Those earning P70,000 per month or higher will remit a fixed premium contribution of P2,450 per month.

Those earning P10,000.01 to P69,999.99, meanwhile, will have to contribute 3.5 percent of their salary as premium.

The rate for 2020 was three percent.

Contributions of employed members shall be equally shared between employees and employers.

For self-paying members, professional practitioners, land-based migrant workers and other direct contributors with no employee-employer relationship, contributions are computed based on their monthly earnings and paid wholly by the member.

The SSS said the monthly contribution is set to increase to 13 percent from the current 12 percent this January 2021.

Meanwhile, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu agrees with Calooy, saying the postponement should at least be for two years.

“With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic causing massive economic losses to most businesses, it is best that we postpone or defer the implementation of the contribution hikes of both SSS and Philhealth by at least two years,” he said.

Yu said for the interim, the government should just support any funding deficiencies of both agencies which it can afford.

“This is one way of supporting businesses to keep it alive until the pandemic goes away and it can stand on its own. If businesses close down, the massive unemployment will cause unrest and lead to social instability, which we do not want to happen,” he warned. (JOB)