The Social Security System (SSS) has intensified its campaign to extend social protection to informal sector workers, particularly through its partnership initiatives such as the AlkanSSSya Program which has registered over 120,000 members and collected over P300 million in contributions to date.
SSS Assistant Vice President for Cooperatives and Informal Sector Department Ma. Nympha M. Ragel said that a total of 1,348 informal sector groups (ISGs) are covered by the AlkanSSSya Program by the end of March this year, 24 percent higher than the total of 1,091 participating ISGs exactly a year earlier.
“Within one year, total contribution collections under the AlkanSSSya Program nearly doubled from P159.02 million by the end of the first quarter last year to P310.86 million as of March this year, reflecting an increase of 95 percent,” Ragel said.
Launched in 2012, the AlkanSSSya Program is a microsavings scheme which enables informal sector workers to complete their monthly contribution of P330 with as little as P11 per day. Each participating ISG has at least one AlkanSSSya unit, which contains secure individual compartments that store the members’ personal SSS savings until their scheduled monthly counting and remittance to SSS.
“With the AlkanSSSya, SSS can collectively cover informal sector workers by partnering with ISGs instead of going after them on an individual basis. This arrangement has attracted a wide range of informal sector workers such as tricycle and jeepney drivers and operators, market vendors, golf caddies, garbage recyclers, farmers and fisherfolk,” Ragel said.
Meanwhile, the SSS also tapped cooperatives and microfinance institutions (MFIs) in reaching out to the informal sector by authorizing them to provide various SSS services for their own members and clients under the SSS Partner Accreditation (PA) Program, which started in 2012.
Servicing partner agents are tasked to receive members’ applications such as SSS registration, salary loans and funeral benefits while collecting partner agents are authorized to collect SSS contributions, loan amortizations and other miscellaneous payments.
“Currently, SSS has accredited a total of 27 organizations — four of which are servicing PAs, another six are collecting PAs, and 17 are both collecting and non-collecting PAs. As SSS partners, they are invaluable channels of social protection for their respective organizations and communities,” Ragel said.
The number of transactions coursed through SSS servicing partner agents grew by 62 percent from 18,473 as of March 2015 to 29,892 as of March 2016. For the same period, collections by SSS partner agents surged by 237 percent from P11.46 million to P38.60 million.
“Other ISGs, cooperatives and MFIs are most welcome to become SSS partners in jointly
promoting the welfare of informal sector workers. These workers need social security protection the most, given the nature of their livelihood and vulnerability during times of financial contingencies,” she said.
The state-run agency also has ongoing tie-ups with Deep Well Sumulong Irrigators Inc., which is a local irrigators association based in Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija, and the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute for the subsidy of SSS contributions of hundreds of farmer beneficiaries.
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