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606 Philippine firms in hot water over pension fund
Publication Date : 03-10-2012
The Social Security System filed lawsuits against 606 Philippine companies in the first half of the year, mostly for failing to remit contributions to the pension fund.
Santiago Agdeppa, SSS assistant vice president and head of the legal department, said the number represented a 17-per cent increase from the 518 firms charged in court in the same period in 2011.
Agdeppa said that this year, 494 of the delinquent companies failed to turn over monthly premiums amounting to 209.3 million pesos (US$5 milllion), including the 3-per cent monthly penalty that had accumulated to 188 million pesos.
The other firms were charged for failing to register workers for SSS coverage or refusing to cooperate with SSS account officers who are inquiring about their businesses.
The Social Security Act of 1997 requires employers to register workers with the SSS within 30 days from start of employment and to promptly remit monthly contributions of employees.
Employers are also required by law to present their records for inspection by SSS or its authorised representatives.
“We continue to intensify legal measures to compel employers to fulfill their responsibilities under the law,” Agdeppa said.
When pressed for details, he explained that the SSS preferred to withhold the names of the delinquent companies from the public in order to encourage them to settle their accounts and spare both the SSS and the firms from the costs and hassle of lawsuits.
Also in the first semester, the pension fund collected 155.63 million pesos from employers who settled their obligations after the SSS initiated legal action against them—including the issuance of demand letters and the filing of cases in court, Agdeppa said.
The SSS official explained that, under the law, delinquent employers face up to 12 years in prison and a fine of 5,000 to 20,000 pesos.
“To safeguard against unscrupulous employers, we encourage employees to monitor the remittance of their SSS payments by registering at our website at www.sss.gov.ph,” Agdeppa said.
“Employees can file a complaint against delinquent employers at their nearest SSS branch. They may remain anonymous in filing their complaints. But what is important is that they inform SSS so we can immediately start to investigate.”