SSS launches RACE campaign

QUEZON CITY-- The state-run Social Security System (SSS) on Thursday mapped about 700 retail stores in Greenhills Shopping Center in San Juan as part of its newly-launched Run After Contribution Evaders (RACE) program on the back of its strengthening efforts against delinquent employers in the country.

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc and Social Security Commission (SSC) Chairman Amado D. Valdez led the RACE campaign to drill awareness among the employers and employees of their obligations and rights to the state-run pension fund.

RACE is a show of force of SSS in public place or a large worker environment where they can address SSS coverage-related concerns, instill awareness on employers' obligations, and facilitate apprehension and filing of cases against delinquent employers in violation of Republic Act 8282 or the Social Security Law, said Dooc.

Valdez, on the other, noted that RACE is a "gentle reminder" for employers to fulfill their duties while SSS also asserted the protection of employees' rights to SSS benefits and services.

"This is to remind the public that the backbone of our economy is the workers. We have to take care of our workers and assure them that the government will take care of their social security protection. We are not what we are if not for our past workers. We want our present workers, that in the future, they can be assured to enjoy the fruits of their labor," Valdez said.

SSS has mapped a total number of 684 stores in Greenhills Shopping Center. Of the total number of stores mapped, only 284 or 42 percent, were found registered with SSS. The pension fund, however, clarified that the status of contribution payments of the 284 stores is yet to be checked in the system.

During the campaign, Valdez issued a Show Cause Order to Hezekiah Toy Shop due to non-registration for coverage despite receiving a demand letter last March 28.

The toy store was one of the 40 delinquent stores found to be delinquent employers. Among the delinquent employers, six were served with billing letter, 23 with demand letter, while the remaining 9 were forwarded to legal for appropriate actions and the two others seek out-of-the-court settlement.

A printed copy of the show cause order was posted on the store as a stern warning to employers that they are accountable if they fail to comply with their obligations.

"This is part of our unrelenting efforts to send a strong message that the present SSS administration is determined to pursue its mandate of providing adequate, universal and sustainable social security protection to our people," Dooc said.

Delinquent employers will be ordered to show cause within a non-extendible period of 15 days from posting, before the nearest SSS branch office to explain why no legal actions should be taken.

Valdez warned employers that they can be sentenced of up to 12 years imprisonment without probation, if convicted.

In support of the RACE campaign and protection of SSS members, SSS also installed an information booth in Greenhills Shopping Center, which offered services on issuance of SS number, online verification of contributions and loans, inquiries on benefits and privileges, and distribution of informational materials. The SSS information booth was able to accommodate 251 persons during the campaign.

SSS San Juan Branch will also hold an information coverage seminar for the store owners and retail vendors in Greenhills Shopping Center on May to discuss ways to improve the SSS compliance among the employers.

Source: Philippines Information Agency

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