Davao workers picket SSS, Philhealth Offices to Protest Premium Hikes

MEDIA RELEASE
8 January 2014

Davao workers picket SSS, Philhealth offices to protest premium hikes

DAVAO CITY — In response to the Palace pronouncement that it will not stop SSS and Philhealth premium hikes, labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno in Southern Mindanao picketed the SSS and Philhealth offices in Bajada and Bolton Ext., respectively, to protest the implementation of increases in membership premiums by the Social Security System and Philhealth. The group threw rotten tomatoes at images of PNoy and SSS/Philhealth executives to manifest their outrage at the injustice of the increases.

Beginning January, due to the 0.6% in SSS premiums, workers will have to shell out additional P25 more for their SSS contributions. PhilHealth is likewise increasing annual premium to P2,400 for individually paying members earning P25,000 and below per month and P3,600 for those earning an income of P25,000 and above per month. Self-employed individually paying members will pay nearly 33% more from P150 to P200. Employed individually paying members will pay 14% more from P175 to P200, shared equally with employers.

According to the labor group, the hikes are additions to the increasing list of New Year miseries PNoy is giving workers and their families. This is over and above the power rate hike and fuel hike that are already hurting workers and consumers at the onset of 2014.

“The Palace says that the hike will prevent the SSS funds from drying up and will increase benefits for workers. What benefits? The truth is this hike serves nobody else but corrupt bureaucrats in cahoots with big capitalists who will pocket all the benefits intended for the workers,” said Romualdo Basilio, KMU Southern Mindanao Secretary General.

Basilio said that instead of holding workers hostage to additional SSS contributions, PNoy should focus efforts on implementing the P125 across the board wage hike. In addition, the labor leader said that PNoy, SSS, and Philhealth should go after non-remitting employers who are depriving their workers of SSS benefits.

“Many workers are being exploited by capitalists by not remitting SSS and Philhealth contributions. This is the case of Davao Metro Shuttle where more than 400 workers are affected and all the more so, in workplaces where there are no unions to ensure that workers get full benefits under the law,” Basilio noted.

“Nagpakita lang gyud ning si PNoy sa iyang pagka-inutil. Iyahang gipensahan ang SSS ug Philhealth premium hike samtang wala kini nagpakabana sa panawagan sa mamumu-o nga itaas ang suhulan. Wage hike amoang gusto, dili premium hike,” Basilio added. (Aquino has exposed once again how utterly useless he is. He readily defended the SSS and Philhealth premium increase while doing absolutely nothing to address our call for higher wages. The workers want a wage hike, not a premium hike.)

The group is backing a TRO filed today with the Supreme Court to stop the implementation of the SSS and Philhealth premium hikes.###

Reference: Romualdo Basilio, KMU Southern Mindanao Secretary General, 0906-6525-498

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