The Social Security System (SSS) has drawn support from Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac, who cited the need to ensure SSS coverage of millions of Filipino seafarers and land-based OFWs.

Administrator Cacdac noted that the POEA is currently “working on the technical implementation of the standard employment contract for seafarers with respect to mandatory SSS coverage” in light of the Philippines’ ratification of the Maritime Labor Convention.

“We are also looking at stronger and better ways in which land-based workers can have access to the (social protection) system. This also will be the subject of future—near future discussions, or ongoing discussions, I should say, between POEA and the SSS,” Cacdac said. “We are more than willing to partner with SSS and to throw our full support in SSS endeavors as it concerns OFWs.”

The measure to include a regular SSS provision in employment contracts will enhance implementation of an SSS-POEA agreement that provides mandatory social security coverage for seafarers, with the manning agency and the foreign principal or ship owner acting as employers.

Cacdac, the guest of honor and main speaker during the SSS Member-Get-Member (MGM) Grand Raffle Draw held on September 7, drew the winning entry of Grand Prize winner Jonathan Castillo Mandia, an OFW-member based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Grand Prize, which is convertible to P160,000 in cash, consists of one round-trip ticket from the winner’s country of employment to Manila and a vacation package to Boracay for two inclusive of round-trip airfare, airport transfers, 4-day/3-night accommodation in a three-star hotel and P45,000 pocket money.

The 2nd prize winners of P30,000 each were Hong Kong-based Nelia Magangat Waggawag and Jubelyn Segara Nemenio. Meanwhile, 3rd prize winners of P20,000 each were Emerson Tuazon Samson, Roy Silva Jauod and Allan Arthur Catagena Bandilao Jr., all based in Saudi Arabia.

The consolation prize of P10,000 each went to Katherine Celario Dimaculangan, Maria Adelfa Flores Malkhasian and Emmanuel Calma Echano (United Arab Emirates); Erma Odtujan, Clarita Corpuz Miranda and Lucila Tolentino (Hong Kong); Alvin Aliwalas Nucom II, Abelardo Regalado, Cherry dela Torre Gajelonia and Mark Francis Hernandez Lopez (Saudi Arabia).

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. and Social Security Commission (SSC) Daniel Edralin, who chairs the SSC Committee on OFWs, presented a P50,000 check and a plaque of appreciation to top nominator Pensees Dawny Figueroa of UAE for referring a total of 121 paying nominees, the highest among all participating OFWs in the promo.

The SSS has started to coordinate with the winners through its foreign offices. The OFW-winners can claim their prizes through crediting to their designated bank accounts or by personally claiming them at the SSS main office in Quezon City on or before December 1, 2012. – Sigfredo Ibay