Harassed by profitable SSS
Thanks to Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, it is now clear that profitabililty—not public or quality service—is the focus of our Social Security System (SSS), probably better renamed Social Insecurity System (SIS).
I am a retired 80-year-old who lived and worked in Hong Kong as a journalist for nearly 35 years. When I hired a female driver/kasambahay, I had no idea that SSS contributions were required. But for more than a year now, the SSS has been hounding me to pay back-dated contributions for this person, insidiously unnamed in their letter as if to underscore their real motivation.
This driver/kasambahay left my employ in April 2012 after a disagreement with me over my objection to her passing off her assigned tasks to another kasambahay. She took offense at my reprimand and stalked off, abandoning me to cope as best as I could. To make matters worse, I had a lunch appointment that day, and I was compelled to hire an “extra” driver to take me there. Upon my return home, the driver/kasambahay was waiting for me, her things already packed, clearly indicating she wished to leave my employ. I did not hold her back.
A few months later (around July or August 2012) I received the first of two Demand Letters from the SSS demanding that I pay contributions for her years of service, plus penalties. I responded by going to our local SSS office to try to explain my position, but the signatory of the letter was not at work, and I spoke to someone else who suggested I write to the person in charge, a suggestion I promptly complied with. A week or so ago, some 13 months later, I received the reply demanding the same, plus additional penalties for the 13 months that lapsed between my letter and their response!
I checked with our barangay, and I am told the Kasambahay Law only came into effect in July this year when the implementing rules and regulations came into force, not earlier—or in 2003, as the SSS claims. Neither is the law retroactive. I have also checked with dozens of friends who assured me they had never heard of such law being implemented in 2003. I have gone to our local SSS branch, and written another letter requesting for reconsideration, but they have allowed me only till the end of the month to settle, else further penalties, plus—woe is me!—possible imprisonment await me.
Even more galling is the fact that although they have found a file of my own SSS contributions from decades ago, they are unable to trace it, or tell me what happened to it. All I could gather was that I was working with a taxi company sometime in the late 1980s, a period I was not even a resident in the country, as my passport will bear out.
This is how efficient the SSS is at topping up their coffers for handsome bonuses for themselves, obviously at the expense of helpless members. Tell me, what am I supposed to do? HELP!
retired journalist and
aggrieved senior citizen,
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.