Offering social protection for as little as P11 per day, the AlkanSSSya program of the Social Security System (SSS) has attracted more than 74,000 members from 748 informal sector groups (ISGs) nationwide as of May 2013.

Amalia Tolentino, SSS AlkanSSSya Program Director, said informal sector workers who save at least P11 per day – about the price of cellphone load or softdrink — can complete the minimum P330 monthly AlkanSSSya contribution based on a declared monthly income or “salary credit” of P3,000.

“The growth in participating ISGs reflects the AlkanSSSya’s appeal to the needs of informal sector workers such as affordability and convenience, especially since many among them have busy work schedules and tight budgets,” Tolentino noted.

A total of 180 ISGs representing over 17,000 members joined the program within the first five months of 2014. Luzon-based groups account for 337 out of the 748 covered ISGs – nearly half of the nationwide total – while 179 ISGs were from the National Capital Region, 116 ISGs were from Visayas, and 116 ISGs were from Mindanao.

To date, the transport industry accounts for about half of the AlkanSSSya-enrolled ISGs, including groups for operators and drivers of tricycles, jeepneys, trisikad, vans, shuttle buses and habal habal; motorboat and pumpboat operators; airport service providers; and bus dispatchers. A total of 332 out of these 389 transport-based ISGs are tricycle operators and drivers associations.

Apart from transport workers’ groups, other covered ISGs include associations for ambulant and market vendors, farmers and fisherfolk, jail inmates, garbage pickers, pottery makers, lay ministers, beach cottage owners, and members of cooperatives and community-based organizations, among others.

Workers’ savings are placed in a communal AlkanSSSya unit that houses dozens of secure box-type “piggy banks” owned by the ISG members. Recently, the SSS has also started the e-AlkanSSSya program, which primarily caters to job order (JO) and contractual workers in state-run institutions who are excluded from the mandatory coverage of the Government Service Insurance System.

“The e-AlkanSSSya employs automatic deduction of contributions from workers’ salaries and wages, which the government office will then remit to the SSS. Like the regular AlkanSSSya, this program helps promote an active SSS membership among workers by putting in place a system for the regular remittance of their SSS contributions, as facilitated by their respective organizations,” Tolentino explained.

Out of the 106 government-based ISGs, 73 are enrolled in the regular AlkanSSSya program while 33 opted for the e-AlkanSSSya scheme. Workers benefiting from these partnerships include JO and contactual workers in government offices, barangay employees and tanod, street sweepers and daycare workers.