— The Social Security System (SSS) will launch on June 7 its innovative microsavings scheme called “AlkanSSSya” for the social protection of nearly a hundred public transport workers in Agusan del Norte, a program which has also drawn the support of a local cooperative. SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. said members of the Magallanes Cabadbaran Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (MCTODA) will drop in their first-ever savings in their very own AlkanSSSya unit, the fabrication of which was subsidized by the Baug CARP Beneficiaries Multi-Purpose Cooperative (BCBMPC).

“Public transport workers such as tricycle drivers are especially vulnerable to road hazards and pollution, which can affect their capacity to earn for their family. With the AlkanSSSya, MCTODA members will have SSS to depend on during times of financial contingencies,” de Quiros said. “In support of SSS efforts to promote social protection, the BCBMPC voluntarily subsidized the cost of the AlkanSSSya unit for MCTODA members.”

All of MCTODA’s 98 members will have their own coin slot in the AlkanSSSya unit, which houses a total of 160 slots. BCBMPC is open to granting the remaining 62 slots to its own members as well as to other informal sector workers who wish to store their daily SSS savings in the AlkanSSSya.

AlkanSSSya participants at present include TODA members, market vendors, golf club workers, garbage pickers, jail inmates, barangay employees, farmers and fisherfolk. The SSS Butuan branch is in talks with a women’s group, a local government unit and a pump boat workers’ association for their future participation in the program.

“The AlkanSSSya makes it easy and affordable for informal sector workers to save as little as about P12 per day for monthly SSS contributions. Their accumulated savings wil be picked up by an SSS collecting agent at the end of every month, making it convenient for them to remit their contributions,” he said.

Among those expected to attend the AlkanSSSya launch are officials and representatives from the local government, the SSS, MCTODA and BCBMPC. The Magallanes head office of BCBMPC, which is a multi-awarded cooperative that provides financial services to farmers and other marginalized workers in Northern Mindanao, will serve as the event venue.

“June 7 will be a double-celebration day as the AlkanSSSya launch immediately follows our signing of a memorandum of agreement with the BCBMPC for the social protection of its 6,800 farmer-members,” de Quiros noted. “The interest and support for the AlkanSSSya shown by various groups continue to fuel our drive to bring social protection within reach of informal sector workers. These also attest to how well the concept works in encouraging workers to save for their future, one day at a time.”