DIPOLOG CITY, Zamboanga del Norte – The Social Security System (SSS) has collected P3.2 billion in members’ contributions in Mindanao from January to April this year, up by 13 percent from P2.9 billion over the same period in 2013, with nearly 80 percent of overall collections coming from the employed sector.

Atty. Rodrigo Filoteo, SSS Assistant Vice President for Western Mindanao, said the contributions from regular and household employers from Mindanao rose by 13 percent to P2.5 billion. About P1.6 billion of these payments were from “large account” employers, or businesses with at least 100 workers.

“Meanwhile, contributions from the smaller ‘branch account’ employers reached P959 million during the four-month period. Double-digit collection growths were attained for both large and branch employer accounts in Mindanao at 10 percent and 20 percent, respectively, which attests to the sustained efforts of SSS branch offices to promote employer compliance in the area,” he noted.

Filoteo, along with other senior officials headed by SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr., are in Dipolog City on July 21 and 22 to meet employers, branch heads and employees in Western Mindanao as part of management’s continuing drive to promote closer ties between SSS and its stakeholders.

The SSS has over 135,000 registered employers in Mindanao, of which 99 percent – including some 33,000 household employers – fall under branch accounts, while about 1,400 employers are classified as large accounts. In terms of number of covered employees in the area, 2.9 million members are employed by businesses, and about 7,300 more are household workers.

Collections from self-employed and voluntary members amounted to P698 million, reflecting an increase of 13 percent from the P618 million within the first four months of 2013. The SSS has 1.2 million covered self-employed and voluntary members in Mindanao.

The AlkanSSSya Program helped contribute to the increase in collections from informal sector workers, who are covered as self-employed members. As of April 2014, a total of 110 informal sector groups representing 11,735 workers in Mindanao have already joined the AlkanSSSya. Workers enrolled in the program are given their own secure compartment in their organization’s AlkanSSSya unit, where they can store their daily SSS savings until these are collected, counted and remitted by their ISG to an SSS branch or collection partner at the end of each month.

Filoteo said another option for interested ISGs or associations is to enroll in the e-AlkanSSSya Program, which entails the automatic deduction of contributions from workers’ salaries and wages that will be remitted monthly by the organization to the SSS.

“The e-AlkanSSSya Program addresses the social protection needs of job order and contractual workers in barangays and other government offices who are excluded from the mandated coverage of social security institutions for regular public sector employees,” he explained.

The SSS has 31 branch and representative offices as well as eight Service Offices in Mindanao. Its operations in the area are supervised by four SSS division offices stationed in the cities of Cagayan de Oro (Mindanao North), Davao (Mindanao South 1), General Santos (Mindanao South 2) and Zamboanga (Mindanao West).