The Social Security System (SSS) has awarded its “Balikat ng Bayan” distinction to twelve winners this year for their exemplary performance as employers, collecting and paying banks, and media partners, while the ”Hall of Fame” citation was granted to a top-performing remittance company for overseas Filipino workers (OFW) after winning in the same category for three straight years.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr. said iRemit, Inc., which had won as Best Collecting Partner for OFW Remittances from 2010 to 2012, led the cast of awardees of the 2013 Balikat ng Bayan Awards held during the SSS Anniversary Program at the agency’s corporate headquarters in Quezon City on September 9.

“The celebration of our 56th year would not be complete without recognizing the invaluable role of employers, banks and the media as SSS partners in advancing the social security protection of Filipino workers,” de Quiros said. “The Balikat ng Bayan awardees set the standards of quality service for the benefit of millions of SSS members.”

The Balikat ng Bayan plaques, specially made by Filipino sculptor Dr. Antonino Raymundo, were presented to the winners by de Quiros, Social Security Commission Chairman Juan Santos and SSS Executive Vice President Edgar Solilapsi.

Jollibee Foods Corporation, the country’s largest fast food chain with over 10,000 employees, and Notre Dame of Cotabato Inc., a Marist School supported by the Oblate Fathers in Central Mindanao with about 70 workers, won as top employers in the large and small/medium categories, respectively.

“Jollibee and Notre Dame have shown excellent compliance to their obligations under the Social Security Law. Moreover, they regularly submit accurate company reports to SSS on time, and participate in SSS programs such as general information seminars,” de Quiros noted.

For SSS’ collection partners for members’ contributions and loan payments, the chosen winners were Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc. as Best Commercial Bank, Planters Development Bank as Best Thrift Bank, and One Network Bank, Inc. as Best Rural Bank. The Best Collecting Partner for OFW Remittances Award this year went to Ventaja International Corporation.

“As for the SSS paying banks, which disburse benefits to members and pensioners, the awardees were Land Bank of the Philippines as Best Commercial Bank, First Consolidated Bank as Best Thrift Bank, and Rural Bank of Sagay as Best Rural Bank,” de Quiros disclosed.

Manila Bulletin won as SSS’ Best Media Partner for Print for the second year in a row. Net 25’s public service program “Responde” won in the television category, while Aksyon Solusyon of Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM emerged on top of the radio category. The Best Media Partner categories were introduced in 2011 to recognize media’s role in disseminating SSS updates and developments to members and stakeholders all over the country and overseas.