More than 20,000 workers in Boracay Island will soon enjoy social protection benefits from the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signed by the Social Security System (SSS), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig), and the Local Government of Malay, Aklan.

The MOA will strengthen the monitoring of businesses’ compliance to Republic Act 8282 or the Social Security Act of 1997 in Boracay.

Under the MOA, SSS will establish a satellite office in the municipality of Malay to facilitate the needs of members. Boracay Island, dubbed as the best beach destination in world, is comprised of three barangays under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Malay, Aklan.

SSS Officer-in-Charge for Western Visayas Operations Division Raul A. Casiano said that they received reports that numerous employers in Boracay are violating RA 8282.

“We engaged Mayor John P. Yap and the Sangguniang Bayan of Malay and stressed to them the provisions under RA 8282 that business establishments should comply with,” Casiano added. He also explained to the local government of Malay that SSS and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) recently signed a MOA to cover contractual and job order (JO) personnel working in Local Governments Units (LGUs) for social protection.

Under the SSS Law, business establishments should religiously pay the contributions and salary loan payments of their employees and remit them to SSS. The SSS Law requires employers to report newly-hired workers for SSS coverage within 30 days, deduct contributions from employees’ salaries, and remit workers’ monthly premiums to SSS on time.

SSS Kalibo, Aklan Branch Head Elisa Llavan disclosed that the local government of Malay will require business establishments to submit a Certificate of SSS Coverage and Compliance before they could secure a business permit, license or a Mayor’s Permit. “They will not issue business permits to establishments found delinquent in paying SSS contributions,” she continued.

Under Section 24(g) of the Employment Records and Reports of RA 8282, local government units must require employers to submit the certificate of SSS coverage and compliance prior to issuance of any annual business license or permit.

The SSS will furnish the local government with the list of registered employers, business owners or operators with SSS delinquencies.

“We will conduct ocular inspection of employers in their assigned areas and update LGUs of businesses discovered to be operating without SSS registration to help them verify if they also lack business permits,” Llavan added.

On the other hand, the local government of Malay will give SSS branches a list of establishments with new or renewed business permits, and another list of businesses granted temporary permits.

“This new agreement reflects the government’s aim to ensure that employers uphold their obligations to their employees. Workers in the island can now look forward to the advantages of active SSS membership such as availment of benefits and loan privileges,” Casiano noted.

SSS has recently deployed in Boracay eight Account Officers, six from Bacolod and the other two from Antique and Roxas Branches. They conducted employer visitations, accepted membership applications, and answered various queries concerning benefits and services to members.