OFWs in Cyprus urge PHL gov't to initiate forging of social security pact
A group of Filipino workers in Cyprus, most of them women, has appealed to the Philippine government to initiate the forging of a social security agreement to enable them to claim their social security benefit even when they are already in the Philippines.
The group made their appeal through a letter sent to President Rodrigo Duterte and to concerned government agencies.
"May we request that the Philippine government thru the Philippine Honorary Consulate and the Philippine Embassy Greece initiate the forging of a Bilateral Social Security Agreement with the government of Cyprus to enable us to claim our social insurance," the group said in the letter.
"The monthly contribution of 88.78euros, 7.8% has been deducted from our monthly gross salary, as worker share," they added.
The group noted that in November 2010, more than 3,000 workers signed the petition asking the Philippine government to formulate the mechanism regarding our social insurance claims.
The letter was signed by Isabel Bacung Leo, president of BIBAK Group, and Armelita V. Sunga, trainor of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Reintegration Program for OFWs, on behalf of Filipino workers in Cyprus.
The group was advised during a seminar organized by local partners of the European Union Integration Program that an agreement was needed to claim their benefits.
"Dr. Srefanos Spaneas clearly explained that we can apply retirement old age pension here or aggregate the contribution to other country that had social security agreement with Cyprus, where ever the workers decide to apply the pension," Sunga said in the letter.
Once a social security agreement is created, Filipinos in retirement age who have returned to the Philippines may fly back to Cyprus to transfer their pension.
Those who do not satisfy the insurance condition "can aggregate their contribution to the SSS like in other countries with social security agreement."
OWWA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, the Philippine Consulate Cyprus, and the Philippine Embassy Athens have all responded to the groups' letter in 2016.
According to the group, they were provided excerpts from documents by the Cyprus Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the office of Honorary Consul Shemaine Alonso Bushnell-Kyriakides proving the eligibility of Filipinos to social insurance upon their retirement age. —KBK, GMA News