Baguio solon seeks to defer PhilHealth, SSS payment hikes for 2 years

BAGUIO CITY – To ease financial burden from the COVID-19 pandemic, Baguio City representative Mark Go has filed two bills that seek to defer the increase in contributions for the Social Security System (SSS) and PhilHealth for two years.

Rep. Go filed House Bill (HB) 8313, which seeks to amend RA 11199 or the Social Security Act of 2018, which mandates an increase of one percent for year 2021 and 2022 with employer and employee contributions to 8.5 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.  The bill intends to maintain the current rate of 12% for two years (2021-2022).

Meanwhile, HB 8314 also seeks to defer the hike in premium contributions for PhilHealth for two years. The state insurer is expected to collect higher premiums in January this year as mandated by RA 11223 or the Universal Healthcare Act with an increase of .50% in 2021 and another .50% hike for 2022. Even as President Duterte has reportedly supported calls to suspend the payment increase, a new law must be passed to amend the mandated increase in the Universal Healthcare Act.

According to Rep. Mark Go, it is essential to defer the payment hikes in light of the country’s recent efforts to revive the economy and restore jobs.

The congressman said that Filipinos still continue to struggle with overwhelming financial difficulty and economic uncertainty, and are not in any position at the moment to bear any additional burden.

The Baguio solon cited an unemployment statistic of 8.7 percent in October 2020, equivalent to over 3.8 million jobless Filipinos.

Rep. Mark Go said that the next two years is crucial for the country’s economic rehabilitation. According to Go, the two-year deferment is based on government projections that the country will expect an economic rebound late this year or early next year should the economy operate under looser restrictions.

The representative also added that the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) forecasts a return of the economy to pre-pandemic levels by 2022, as consumers regain confidence and lose the “fear factor” brought by the virus.

According to Rep. Mark Go, “Providing Filipino workers and enterprises this relief from an untimely increase in financial burden within this two-year period will allow them to bounce back as the country looks to better days ahead.”