The provincial government of Isabela (PLGU-Isabela) has inked an agreement with the Social Security System (SSS) for the subsidy of SSS contributions of about 10,000 farmers in the province.

Under the memorandum of agreement (MOA) that was signed on January 30, the PLGU-Isabela will appropriate P18 million to subsidize half of the contributions of farmers with one-fourth to one hectare of tillage.

The subsidies will be based on P3,000 monthly salary credit that is equivalent to a contribution of P330 per month. Eligible farmers will be covered as self-employed members under the SSS program.

“This means a farmer will only have to set aside P165 of his earnings per month and this amount will be collected and remitted together with the corresponding share of the provincial government to the SSS based on our regular payment schedule,” De Quiros said.

He added that farmers can also increase their monthly contribution to a higher bracket, subject to existing SSS rules and procedures.

The PLGU-Isabela will remit the farmers’ contributions monthly to the SSS through its designated collecting agents as well as submit the collection lists for validation. SSS Cauayan Branch will monitor PLGU-Isabela’s compliance with the signed MOA.

“In the spirit of transparency, the provincial government of Isabela should maintain and post copies of the collection lists that we validated in conspicuous places on its premises so the farmers and the general public would see and be assured that we successfully received their contributions, “De Quiros said.

This subsidized contribution payment scheme for farmers came following the approval of the “Social Security Subsidy by the National Government for the Working Poor” by the Social Security Commission under its Resolution No. 575.s.2012 on July 11, 2012. The Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Isabela province has also passed an ordinance in 2012 to institutionalize the subsidy for their farmers’s contributions.

In 2014, the number of registered farmers with the SSS rose by around 21 percent to 22,207 from 18,401 in 2013. To date, the SSS has covered more than 492,000 farmers as self-employed members.