Hundreds of garbage pickers who earn their living from the Payatas dumpsite in Quezon City can now start their daily savings for Social Security System (SSS) contributions as new members of the “AlkanSSSya,” an innovative SSS microsavings program that continues to attract informal sector workers seeking access to social protection.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. and Aldrin Cuna, who is Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista’s Chief of Staff, led the inauguration of special AlkanSSSya units for the Payatas workers during ceremonies at the QC Integrated Waste Disposal Facility on December 3.

“We want to provide informal sector workers access to SSS benefits similar to those received by our members who are formally employed. The increasing number of people joining the AlkanSSSya shows that more and more workers realize that saving regularly for SSS contributions can be easy and affordable, even if they are self-employed. We also aim to instill in them the discipline of saving, so that they will see how a little amount each day can already bring them and their dependents a lifetime of security,” De Quiros said.

The latest batch of new AlkanSSSya participants consist of 480 garbage pickers under the Payatas Alliance Recycling Exchange (PARE) Multi-Purpose Cooperative, which has about 3,000 members.

“We are now processing the papers of other garbage pickers under the cooperative so that they too can soon start saving for their future under the program. The minimum AlkanSSSya contribution is only P312 per member every month, or about P10 a day,” he said.

Col. Jameel RM Jaymalin, Director of the Payatas Poverty Alleviation Foundation Inc. (PPAFI), helped paved the way for the new AlkanSSSya partnership after he approached SSS officials early this year regarding the cooperative’s participation in the program.

De Quiros said the three newly-inaugurated AlkanSSSya units for PARE Multi-purpose Cooperative members are made of wood and recyclable materials such as plastic Gatorade bottles. The units will be housed at the cooperative’s office for safekeeping.

“A mobile van will carry the AlkanSSSya units to the area where Payatas workers sell the materials that they have gathered from the garbage. This saves them the trouble of taking a long walk to the cooperative’s office just to drop their savings into their AlkanSSSya coin slots,” he said.

The SSS Commonwealth branch will also assist the cooperative in the counting of monthly AlkanSSSya collections and remittance of members’ contributions to make the process even more convenient, De Quiros said.