June 14, 2024

The Social Security System assured the social security coverage of all Filipino seafarers and maritime professionals as labor groups, manning agencies, ship owners, and government agencies formed the Maritime Industry Tripartite Council during a pact signing ceremony in Intramuros, Manila.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Rolando Macasaet emphasized the collective effort as SSS joined as one of the members of the newly created Maritime Industry Tripartite Council, representing the government sector.

EMPOWERING SEAFEARERS AND MARITIME PROFESSIONALS — Social Security System President and Chief Executive Officer Rolando Ledesma Macasaet (right) signed the memorandum of agreement for the creation of the Maritime Industry Tripartite Council organized by the Department of Migrant Workers. Also in the photo (from left) were Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista and Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma. — SSS handout photo

Macasaet lauded the Department of Migrant Workers led by its newly appointed secretary, Hans Leo J. Cacdac, for spearheading the creation of the council.

He said the council was a testament to the unified commitment to address maritime employment concerns and advance the protection of Filipino seafarers.

“With this agreement, SSS commits itself to promoting the welfare of Filipino seafarers and their families by providing them with financial assistance during contingencies such as disability, sickness, maternity, unemployment, old age, funeral and death,” Macasaet said.

He urged all Filipino seafarers to become SSS members, underlining the significant benefits of having social security protection for themselves and their families, which is a crucial step towards ensuring a secure future.

Records showed around 350,000 seafarers are members of SSS.

Macasaet told seafarers to strive to pay at least 120 monthly SSS contributions so they can receive a lifetime monthly pension once they have retired.

“Contributing to the SSS is one way of investing in their future. Aside from retirement benefits, employed SSS members like seafarers are entitled to sickness, maternity, disability, unemployment, funeral, and death benefits,” he said.

Macasaet added they can also take advantage of various SSS loan programs, such as salary and calamity, and get additional coverage from the Employees’ Compensation Program for work-related sickness or injury resulting to disability, or death.

“Since seafarers are contributing to the regular SSS program with a monthly salary credit that exceeds P20,000, they are automatically enrolled in the Workers’ Investment and Savings Program,” he said.

Under this compulsory provident fund scheme, he said each contributing member will have an account wherein SSS will place their contributions and investment earnings. Members pay their WISP contributions together with their regular SSS contributions.

He added seafarers would get their total contributions and investment income at the time of their retirement, which they may opt to receive as a monthly annuity if their WISP savings exceed P100,000.

“Seafarers can receive it as a lump sum if their contributions and investment income are less than P100,000. If it is P100,000 or more, they can receive it as combination of lump sum and monthly pension or a fixed monthly annuity which will be released together with their regular monthly pension,” he said.

Likewise, Macasaet urged seafarers to consider their financial future and save their hard-earned money in WISP Plus, the SSS voluntary retirement savings program.

He highlighted this as an additional benefit, giving seafarers the power to choose and plan for their retirement, in addition to the retirement pension from the regular social security program and annuity from the WISP.

Macasaet said members can contribute as little as P500 per payment whenever they want to receive this additional layer of social security protection.

He noted the members’ pooled contributions under WISP Plus would generate investment earnings, which would be credited to their individual accounts tax-free. – Press release