The Social Security System (SSS) attracted a total of 284 informal sector groups (ISGs) to join its microsavings program called “AlkanSSSya” so far, which translates to over 21,500 workers in hard-to-reach sectors now effectively covered with social security protection.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. said the agency intensified its coverage drive and diversified the types of covered ISGs to enable more workers to benefit from the AlkanSSSya, which evolved from the original “TrikanSSSya” scheme conceptualized by SSS for tricycle operators and drivers.

“The AlkanSSSya addresses a concern shared by many informal sector workers that saving for monthly SSS contributions is beyond their means. But we have shown that with a little discipline, setting aside as little as about P10 every day will enable them to receive SSS benefits when their ability to earn is hampered by various SSS-covered contingencies,” de Quiros noted.

AlkanSSSya participants contribute at a minimum monthly salary credit of P3,000, which has a corresponding SSS contribution of P312 per month. Large cabinet-type units with secure, individual boxes that serve as personal “piggy banks” store the workers’ daily savings for SSS contributions.

A total of 284 ISGs nationwide are currently covered by the AlkanSSSya program, including tricycle operators and drivers associations or “TODA” that enrolled in the TrikanSSSya since it was first launched last December 7, 2011 in Las Piñas City. De Quiros said 229 of these 284 ISGs joined the AlkanSSSya this year.

“From only 55 covered ISGs by the end of 2012, the SSS increased the number of participating ISGs to 284 in less than eight months,” de Quiros said. “Covered ISGs from the National Capital Region totaled 89, while an additional 195 ISGs are based outside NCR, which attests to the widespread support that the program has been getting.”

The participating ISGs include cooperatives, community-based associations and various workers’ groups for jail inmates, transport workers, garbage pickers, ambulant vendors, workers in golf courses, farmers and fisherfolk.

De Quiros said four participating ISGs have members who are employed in local government units, such as barangay employees, tanod and volunteer workers, who are exempted from the social security program for public sector workers.

“In the transport sector alone, the covered workers range from bus dispatchers, to airport service providers, to operators and drivers of tricycles, trisikads, jeepneys, shuttle buses and motorboats. We expect more informal sector workers from varying types of industries to start their SSS savings under the AlkanSSSya program in the coming months,” he said.