SSS reaching out to farmers, fishermen
State-run pension fund Social Security System (SSS) has inked a partnership agreement with Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) to bring social security coverage to Filipino farmers and fisherfolk.
SSS president Aurora Ignacio and PCIC president Jovy Bernabe signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this month for the promotion of SSS programs and the provision of social security protection to members of the agricultural workforce who are the most vulnerable to calamities, both natural and man-made.
The program aims to increase the number of farmers and fisherfolk who are covered with SSS, which provides social security protection in times of sickness, maternity, disability, unemployment, retirement, funeral and death.
Most farmers and fisherfolk are situated in far-flung areas where certain government benefits are inaccessible. As such, they often cling to informal lenders like loan sharks during times of need, wherein rates could go as high as 20 percent a month.
“SSS and PCIC share the same objective of providing adequate safety nets to one of the most vulnerable sectors of society, especially to our farmers and fisherfolk in the provinces. Hence, we are tapping PCIC’s regional network to cover more potential members with our pension fund,” Ignacio said.
SSS is hopeful that with PCIC, it would be able to go into untapped areas where PCIC has established its presence, making it easier to encourage agriculture workers to develop financial independence.
PCIC provides insurance protection to farmers and fisherfolk in times of calamities, plant diseases and pest infestation.
Based on its 2018 annual report, about 2.7 million farmers nationwide or a quarter of the country’s entire agricultural workforce were able to avail themselves of insurance products and programs, and were able to establish partnerships with at least 3,000 government agencies, local government units, cooperatives, and microfinance and lending institutions.
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