Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Solid financial performance brings SSS asset level to P415-B

Building on its solid financial performance since the start of the year, the Social Security System (SSS) saw its total assets expand by eight percent to P415 billion as of May 2014, showing a growth of over P30 billion in just five months from its P385 billion asset level as of December 2013.
May Catherine Ciriaco, SSS Vice President for Management Services and Planning, credited the increase in assets to the six percent growth in investment level, which stood at P401 billion as of May 2014, compared to P371 billion as of end of last year. Ninety-seven percent of SSS assets are in the form of investments.
The growth in assets augurs well for SSS’ drive to improve the system’s long-term viability and regain a perpetual fund life of 70 years, in line with international social security standards,” noted Ciriaco. Based on results of the latest SSS actuarial valuation, SSS funds are currently projected to last until 2043, with four years recently added to its fund life as a result of the 0.6 percent contribution rate hike and the new P16,000 maximum monthly salary credit effective January 2014.
Total revenues reached P64 billion during the first five months of 2014, up eight percent from P59 billion for the same period last year. Contribution collections, representing 77 percent of revenues, surged 16 percent to P49 billion, with the bulk of payments coming from the employed sector. Combined contributions from regular and household employees jumped by 16 percent to P42 billion; self-employed workers by 10 percent to P2 billion; and voluntary members by 23 percent to P4 billion.
Ciriaco said SSS investment and other income surpassed the P9 billion target for the five-month period by 59 percent primarily accounted for by equity earnings.
On the expenditure side, P41 billion or 93 percent were attributed to benefit payments, which went up by 16 percent due to streamlined claims processing -- particularly for death, disability and retirement (DDR) that normally comprise majority of benefit payouts. For the first five months of 2014, DDR payments totaled P38 billion, or 93 percent of benefit releases for the period.
Benefit payments during this five-month period also covered the six months’ worth of advanced pension disbursed to pensioners affected by Super Typhoon Yolanda.
Meanwhile, operating expenses (opex) posted a modest increase of four percent to P3 billion, utilizing only 49 percent of allowed charter limit. The higher opex can be attributed to other initiatives such as conducting information campaigns, and expanding and relocating SSS office spaces to provide better facilities for members.
Opex included the five new branches and seven SOs launched from January to May this year. We plan to open additional SSS offices in other key locations to reach out to more workers and widen members' access to our services,” Ciriaco said. As of June 2014, the number of local SSS offices totaled 239, which includes 141 branches, 33 representative offices, and 65 SOs.

For inquiries please contact
The Media Affairs Department
7th floor, SSS Corporate Headquarters, East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
Trunkline: 9206401 local 5050-5055, 5058, 924-7295, Fax: 924-3446

Four-month SSS collections in Mindanao jump 13 percent to P3.2-B

DIPOLOG CITY, Zamboanga del Norte – The Social Security System (SSS) has collected P3.2 billion in members’ contributions in Mindanao from January to April this year, up by 13 percent from P2.9 billion over the same period in 2013, with nearly 80 percent of overall collections coming from the employed sector.
Atty. Rodrigo Filoteo, SSS Assistant Vice President for Western Mindanao, said the contributions from regular and household employers from Mindanao rose by 13 percent to P2.5 billion. About P1.6 billion of these payments were from “large account” employers, or businesses with at least 100 workers.
“Meanwhile, contributions from the smaller ‘branch account' employers reached P959 million during the four-month period. Double-digit collection growths were attained for both large and branch employer accounts in Mindanao at 10 percent and 20 percent, respectively, which attests to the sustained efforts of SSS branch offices to promote employer compliance in the area,” he noted.
Filoteo, along with other senior officials headed by SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio de Quiros, Jr., are in Dipolog City on July 21 and 22 to meet employers, branch heads and employees in Western Mindanao as part of management's continuing drive to promote closer ties between SSS and its stakeholders.
The SSS has over 135,000 registered employers in Mindanao, of which 99 percent – including some 33,000 household employers – fall under branch accounts, while about 1,400 employers are classified as large accounts. In terms of number of covered employees in the area, 2.9 million members are employed by businesses, and about 7,300 more are household workers.
Collections from self-employed and voluntary members amounted to P698 million, reflecting an increase of 13 percent from the P618 million within the first four months of 2013. The SSS has 1.2 million covered self-employed and voluntary members in Mindanao.
The AlkanSSSya Program helped contribute to the increase in collections from informal sector workers, who are covered as self-employed members. As of April 2014, a total of 110 informal sector groups representing 11,735 workers in Mindanao have already joined the AlkanSSSya. Workers enrolled in the program are given their own secure compartment in their organization's AlkanSSSya unit, where they can store their daily SSS savings until these are collected, counted and remitted by their ISG to an SSS branch or collection partner at the end of each month.
Filoteo said another option for interested ISGs or associations is to enroll in the e-AlkanSSSya Program, which entails the automatic deduction of contributions from workers' salaries and wages that will be remitted monthly by the organization to the SSS.
“The e-AlkanSSSya Program addresses the social protection needs of job order and contractual workers in barangays and other government offices who are excluded from the mandated coverage of social security institutions for regular public sector employees,” he explained.
The SSS has 31 branch and representative offices as well as eight Service Offices in Mindanao. Its operations in the area are supervised by four SSS division offices stationed in the cities of Cagayan de Oro (Mindanao North), Davao (Mindanao South 1), General Santos (Mindanao South 2) and Zamboanga (Mindanao West).

For inquiries please contact
The Media Affairs Department
7th floor, SSS Corporate Headquarters, East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City
Trunkline: 9206401 local 5050-5055, 5058, 924-7295, Fax: 924-3446

Monday, July 21, 2014

Honorary consul general receives Order of Sikatuna

Posted at 07/20/2014 3:29 PM | Updated as of 07/20/2014 3:29 PM
VIENNA, Austria -- Philippine Ambassador to Austria Lourdes Yparraguirre has conferred the Order of Sikatuna with the rank of Lakan on Jose Kastelic, honorary consul-general in Ljubljana, Slovenia, at a ceremony at the Philippine Embassy in Vienna last Friday.
The Order of Sikatuna is an order of diplomatic merit conferred upon individuals who have rendered exceptional and meritorious services to the Philippines, and upon diplomats, officials, and nationals of foreign states who have rendered conspicuous service in fostering, developing, and strengthening relations between their country and the Philippines.
"In his 20 years as honorary consul general of the Philippines in Ljubljana, Mr. Kastelic has helped deepen the bilateral relations between the Philippines and Slovenia. Through his initiatives and assistance, the Philippines and Slovenia have concluded agreements on economic cooperation, scientific and technical cooperation, tourism and the establishment of a political consultations, mechanism between the two countries," Yparraguirre said.
Kastelic expressed his gratitude to President Benigno Aquino III and his government for the honor bestowed upon him and his country. He recalled his ties of friendship, spanning several decades, with the Filipino people who are permanently settled in Slovenia.
"Indeed, Mr. Kastelic is well-loved and held in the highest regard by the Filipino community in Slovenia. He has served the Filipino community with dedication, concern and warmth," a Filipino delegate from Slovenia commented.
"He inspires us a lot. He does his duties in a fatherly manner, that is why we call him 'Tatang,'" another Filipina from Slovenia said.
The Filipino community in Slovenia expressed its deep appreciation for Kastelic's work and initiatives that generated much interest in Slovenia for Philippine tourism and culture, and promoted the trade and investment opportunities in the Philippines among the business circles in the country.

OWWA: Remains of OFW Fatality in Hong Kong Arrived

 The Human Remains (HR) of Ma. Arlyn Castre Carbon, the OFW who reportedly died in Hong Kong after she allegedly  fell  from the 43rd floor of the Tower 3 of Grand Promenade building where she worked as household service worker (HSW)  arrived last  Friday, 18 July 2014, at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 (PSI)  via Philippine Airlines flight PR301 at 1:20 P.M. The cause of death of  OFW Carbon  was described by the Hong Kong Police as a ‘person who fell from  height’.
The case  is still under investigation by the Hong Kong authorities. Under the Hong Kong judiciary system, the result of the investigation of  incident like OFW Carbon’s case,  which is considered as `police matters’ will be released  after three  (3) months to six (6) months,   at the earliest,  or about  six (6) months  to one (1)  year at the most.     
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz directed OWWA Chief Rebecca J. Calzado  to extend full assistance to the family of the late OFW victim upon arrival at the airport and release immediately the benefits due the family of OFW Carbon.
The 43-year-old native of Calinog, Iloilo, OFW  Carbon was survived by her  siblings. Early on, the deceased worker’s elder sister, Nimfa Carbon, sought OWWA’s assistance to go to Hong Kong where her sister reportedly died. Nimfa was extended full assistance by the OWWA Central Office as well as the DFA/POLO/OWWA Officials in Hong Kong.  In behalf of her sister, Nimfa received Arlyn’s  salary and other emoluments, including retrieving of the personal belongings of her late sister. In addition to this,
Nimfa was able to meet and talk  to people that she wanted to meet with regard to the case of her deceased OFW sister. She was also accompanied to the place where her sister allegedly died.  
Nimfa was likewise extended assistance by the OWWA Repatriation/Airport Team when she came back to the country at 1:00 AM (dawn) last 17 July 2014 . and was accompanied  home by the OWWA personnel.   
OFW Carbon was an active OWWA member at the time of her death. Families of active OWWA members are extended full package of social  benefits that include insurance and death benefits as well as scholarship and livelihood assistance to surviving legitimate dependents.
The family of OFW  Carbon will also undergo stress-debriefing to lessen the impact of the loss of  a loved one. 

Kin of Filipinos in MH17 crash to fly to the Netherlands to see remains

World leaders demand Russias hand in  MH17 crash site
World leaders demand Russia's hand in MH17 crash site. Ukrainian State Emergency Service personnel collect bodies of victims at the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines plane in Grabove, in rebel-held east Ukraine on Sunday, July 20. The missile system used to shoot down the plane was handed to pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine by Moscow, a top US diplomat said Sunday. Outraged world leaders have demanded Russia's immediate cooperation in a prompt and independent probe of the incident. AFP/Bulent Kilic
Relatives of the Filipino victims of last week's crash of a Malaysia Airlines flight are set to fly to the Netherlands to see their loved ones' remains, a report on GMA News TV's “News To Go” said Monday.

The report said the family of Irene Gunawan in Pagbilao, Quezon, is in touch with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), which is helping arrange for their trip to the Netherlands, where the remains of Gunawan and her children Darryl and Sherryl are expected to be taken.

Malaysia Airlines will shoulder their fare, the report added.

"Baka sakali na lang ako," Gunawan's brother, Tirso Pabellon, told GMA News. "Kung sakaling makuha nga 'yung bangkay ng mga bata, kahit ako'y nalulungkot ay [kung] nakita ko rin sa huling sandali, maligaya na 'ko nu'n."

The Gunawans were among the 298 people — 283 passengers from 11 countries and 15 Malaysia crew — on board Flight MH17, which crashed in eastern Ukraine after it was shot down from the ground.

Gunawan and her children were holders of Philippine passports, the DFA said.


While waiting for the flight, Gunawan's relatives are left only to reminisce the good times they shared with Irene, Darryl, and Sherryl through videos of their family reunions over the past years.

The videos, which they shared with GMA News, were taken by Gunawan's husband, Buddy, an Indonesian who was also killed in the crash.

Meanwhile, a glimpse on the social media accounts of Gunawan's children shows the lives and interests of the two prior to the incident.

Darryl, a medical student, was into photography, film, and graphic design. He was also a disc jockey. The blog of his sister, Sherryl, meanwhile, had the banner "Living my life to the fullest." She was into music, dancing, skateboarding, and arts.

Other ways of remembering the victims have been put in place in different countries following the crash.

In the Netherlands, a national commemorative service was held to pray for the victims, more than half of whom were Dutch.

Meanwhile, a candlelight vigil was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where participants not only prayed for the victims and their families, but also called to make those responsible for the crash accountable.Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/KBK, GMA News

PH orders mandatory evacuation in Libya

Agence France-Presse

Posted at 07/20/2014 11:54 AM | Updated as of 07/20/2014 6:46 PM
A general view of the front of the airport is seen after a shelling at Tripoli International Airport on July 17, 2014. Photo by Hani Amara, Reuters
MANILA - (UPDATED) The government on Sunday ordered the estimated 13,000 Filipinos in Libya to flee that country due to the worsening unrest there.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) ordered the mandatory evacuation of Filipinos in Libya "in response to the extremely unstable political and security situation," a statement said.
The order also bars Filipinos from travelling to Libya.
Filipinos were told to contact the embassy in Tripoli for instructions on "mass evacuation," the statement said without giving details.
Unrest has escalated in recent days with rival militia groups fighting around Tripoli airport, which has been shut down as fears grow of all-out civil war.
About 10 million Filipinos live and work abroad, many of them in Middle East, having left their homeland in search of better-paying jobs. However this has often placed them in delicate situations when violence breaks out in these countries.
On Saturday, the DFA also ordered the 100 Filipinos living in Gaza to leave the besieged Palestinian territory as Israel presses its offensive.
© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse

Israel-Palestine and more children are killed

Dear friends,

As a new round of violence kicks off in Israel-Palestine and more children are killed, it's time to takedefinitive non-violent action to end this nightmare. Our governments and companies have continued to aid, trade and invest in the violence, but we can help stop it if we call on key banks, pension funds and businesses to pull outtheir investments -- add your voice now:

As a new round of violence kicks off in Israel-Palestine and more children are killed, it's not enough just to call for another ceasefire. It’s time to take definitive non-violent action to end this decades long nightmare. 
Our governments have failed -- while they have talked peace and passed UN resolutions, they and our companies have continued to aid, trade and invest in the violence. The only way to stop this hellish cycle of Israel confiscating Palestinian lands, daily collective punishment of innocent Palestinian families, Hamas firing rockets, and Israel bombing Gaza is to make the economic costof this conflict too high to bear.

We know it works -- 
when EU countries issued guidelines not to fund the illegal Israeli settlements it caused an earthquake in the cabinet, and when citizens successfully persuaded a Dutch pension fund, PGGM, to withdraw, it created a political storm.

This may not feel like a direct way to stop the current killing, but history tells us that raising the financial cost of oppression can pave a path to peace. Click to call on 6 key banks, pension funds and businesses to pull out -- If we all take smart action now and turn up the heat, they could withdraw, the Israeli economy will take a hit, and we can turn the calculation of the extremists politically profiting from this hell upside down:

In the last five weeks three Israeli teenagers were murdered in the West Bank, a Palestinian boy was burnt alive, an American kid was brutally beaten up by Israeli police, and now over 40 Gazan kids have died in Israeli air strikes. This is not the “Middle East conflict”, it's becoming a war on children. And we are becoming numb to this global shame.
The media makes out like this is an intractable conflict between two equal warring parties, but it is not. Palestinian extremists' attacks on innocent civilians must be condemned and ended but the root of the conflict lies elsewhere -- in the dispossession of the Palestinian people. Israel currently occupies, colonises, bombs, raids, and controls the water, trade and the borders of a legally free nation that has been recognised by the United Nations. In Gaza, Israel has created the largest open-air prison in the world, and then blockaded it. Now as bombs fall, the families, literally have no way to get out.
These are war crimes and we wouldn't accept that anywhere else, why accept it in Palestine? Half a century ago Israel and its Arab neighbours went to war and Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza. Occupying territory after war happens all the time. But no military occupation should turn into a decades long tyranny which only fuels and benefits extremists who use terror to target the innocent. And who suffers? The majority of loving families on both sides that just want freedom and peace.

To many, particularly in Europe and North America, calling for companies to withdraw investments from financing or taking part in Israel's occupation of Palestine sounds completely biased. But it’s not -- this is the most potent non-violent strategy to end the ritual violence, ensure 
Israelis' security and achieve Palestinian freedom. Israel’s power and wealth dwarfs Palestine, and if it refuses to end its illegal occupation, the world must act to make the cost unbearable.
Dutch pension fund, ABP, invests in Israeli banks that help fund the colonisation of Palestine. Massive banks like Barclays invest in suppliers of Israeli arms and other occupation businesses. Computer giant Hewlett-Packard supplies sophisticated surveillance to control the movement of Palestinians. And Caterpillar provides bulldozers that are used to demolish Palestinian homes and farms. If we can create the biggest global call ever to get these companies to pull out, we will show clearly that the world will no longer be complicit in this bloodshed. The Palestinian people are calling on the world to support this path and progressive Israelis support it too. Let’s join them:

Our community has worked to bring peace, hope, and change to some of the world’s toughest conflicts, and often that means taking difficult positions to address the root cause. For years our community has looked for a political solution to this nightmare, but with this new round of horror unfolding in Gaza, the time has come to turn to sanctions and disinvestment to finally help end the horror for Israelis and Palestinians.

With hope and determination,

Alice, Fadi, Ben, Laila, Anna, Ricken, Jo, Nell, Mais and the entire Avaaz team


UN independent expert calls for boycott of businesses profiting from Israeli settlements (UN)

12 more EU countries warn against trade with Israeli settlements (Haaretz)

Israelis, Palestinians Pro Peace Process, but Not Hopeful (Gallup)

Under pressure, a strong EU-Israel relationship faces uncertain future (Middle East Monitor)

Israel-Gaza conflict: 80 per cent of Palestinians killed by Israeli strikes are civilians, UN report says (The Independent)

Rule 156. Definition of War Crimes (ICRC)

Palestinians: Most Gaza dead are children, women, elderly (Haaretz)

Caught on Tape: US Teen Allegedly Beaten by Israeli Police (ABC News)

A policy of displacement (Visualizing Palestine)

Exposing the Israeli Occupation Industry

Additional sources for this campaign:


Share It