The state-run Social Security System (SSS) said collections from its 15.4 million actively paying members amounted to P42.57 billion in the first three months of 2018 pushing its total revenues for the period to P49.72 billion.
SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc said that the total amount collected was a result of aggressive collection drives such as posting of show cause orders in non-compliant establishments, serving of warrants of arrest together with the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the implementation of the Real-Time Posting of Contributions (RTPC) as a new form of collection system.
“There was a large volume of paying members in the first quarter of this year, majority of them are voluntary members. Combined with the implementation of the RTPC since January 2018 which caused the immediate posting of collections in our system,” Dooc said.
Component-wise, collections from the employed sector registered the biggest amount at P35.75 billion followed by voluntary paying members at P4.78 billion, and self-employed at P2.04 billion.
SSS members’ contribution collection from January to March 2018 grew by 7.64 percent from the P39.55 billion booked in the same period in 2017.
On the other hand, investment and other income slipped to P7.16 billion, a 22.50 percent drop from the P9.23 billion recorded in 2017.
Dooc explained that SSS’ investment and other income slid in the first quarter due to several factors such as the the unfavorable mark-to-market valuation and timing of receipt of dividend income.
“The Philippine Stocks Exchange index (PSEi) opened at 8,584 on the beginning of the first quarter and closed at 8,039 by end-March 2018 period. This represented a 7.04 percent drop or 604 points, which affected not only SSS but also other investors. Also, SSS dividend income from invested companies for the period of January to March 2018 declined by 9.61 percent to P1.27 billion compared to the P1.41 billion in the same period last year,” Dooc explained.
He also noted that payment for member loans was lower in the first quarter of the year because there was no Loan Restructuring Program (LRP) offering during the period offering unlike the posted income from LRP of 2017 same period.
“Our investment in government securities, which comprises majority of our investment power, performed well but was tapered by the fair value loss on government bonds” he said.
Dooc added that SSS had also no programmed Education Assistance Loan Program (EALP) counterpart funding in first quarter 2018.
“But we have high hopes that the proposed amendments to the Social Security Law of 1997 would be passed by the end of this year which will allow expansion of investment powers of the Social Security Commission. Combined with favorable market conditions, we are optimistic that investments and other income of the pension fund will show positive growth,” he added.
Benefit payments which is a primary expenditure of the pension fund, increased in the first quarter of the year to P46.22 billion following the 3.85 percent jump in benefit payouts. Benefit payments for the period rose to P44.24 billion from P42.60 billion in the same three-month period last year. Payouts for retirement was the highest at P25.46 billion, followed by death benefit payouts at P13.70 billion, maternity benefit at P1.77 billion, disability benefit at P1.65 billion, funeral grant at P1 billion, and sickness benefit at P649 million.
Operating expenses of the pension fund reduced to P1.98 billion from the P2.18 billion in the previous year following the 41.3 percent drop in maintenance costs and other operating expenses compared to the same period last year due to the hiring of temporary personnel.
Dooc assured its members and pensioners that the agency is financially stable and well-managed. SSS assets in January to March 2018 increased by P4.96 billion to P509.83 billion due to the continuous growth in investment level and cash equivalents despite the decrease in other receivables.
He explained that total investments of the pension fund, representing 91.4 percent of the total assets, went up by P4.94 billion due to placements in treasury bonds, time deposits, equities investments, and new salary loans releases totaling P5.16 billion. The increases were slightly tapered by the decline in housing loans, corporate notes and bonds due to maturities.
“I am hoping that the positive performance of the agency especially in increasing its collection will continue until the end of the year. Moreso, we have relaunched the Loan Restructuring Program last April 2018. So this will surely hasten collections from past due salary loans. Strengthened collection efforts will lead to higher collections. I am confident that SSS will have enough funds to pay for current benefits and privileges of our members and pensioners,” Dooc said. SSS