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On August 15, 2023, the University of the Philippines – Los Baños Center for Agriculture, Fisheries, and Biosystems Mechanization (BIOMECH) convened with Mr. Carlo C. Villacorta, Acting Vice President for Public Affairs and Special Events Division at the SSS Main Office in Diliman, Quezon City. The central topic of discussion was the establishment of a dedicated pension system catering to agricultural sector workers, aiming to address their retirement needs effectively.

During the meeting, Mr. Carlo C. Villacorta, provided an overview of the current strategies and initiatives in place to meet the retirement needs of farmers and fisherfolk. Among these strategies is the issuance of SSS Circular No. 2022-028. This circular outlines the Payment Schedule of Social Security (SS) and Employee’s Compensation (EC) Contributions, effectively offering flexibility to Farmers, Fishermen, and other self-employed individuals who operate within the informal economy. 

In line with the commitment to addressing social security challenges, the SSS also introduced the Contribution Subsidy Provider Program (CSPP). This program encourages both private and government entities to contribute to the SSS contributions of self-employed individuals, land-based overseas Filipino workers, and voluntary members. 

Beyond the SSS’s efforts, the project’s team also engaged with key representatives from the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Coconut Authority (DA-PCA) at the PCA Office on Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City. At the forefront of their initiatives is the CocoCare program, led by Mr. Jimbo Mallari, Acting Division Chief of the Health and Medical Program. According to Mr. Mallari, this program, specifically designed to support aging coconut farmers, include healthcare provisions for farmers and their families, spanning hospitalization, medical assistance, and dental and medical health missions.

The meetings with the government agencies are part of the data gathering activities under the project titled “Policy Study in Support of the Establishment of a Social Security Support Program or Pension System for Farmers, Farmworkers, and Fisherfolk (3FPS)”.  The project, funded by the Department of Agriculture – Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries (DA-PCAF),  aims to develop a relevant social security/pension system for the agriculture sector to ensure a more secure future for those who contribute tirelessly to the nation’s food security and economy..

(Kristine G. Eusebio)

From Left to Right: Mr. Alexander L. Regala (Acting Corporate Executive Officer III, Implementation and Monitoring Section of the Cooperatives and Informal Sector Department), Engr. Ronnie Valencia (Engineer II, BIOMECH), Engr. Kristine G. Eusebio (URA II, BIOMECH), Engr. Marielle Q. Aringo (URA II, BIOMECH), Engr. Emmanuel R, Paradero (URA I, BIOMECH), Mr. Carlo C. Villacorta (Head, Social Security System (SSS) Public Affairs and Special Events Division), Mr. Raul F. Matan (Corporate Executive Officer III, Professional Sector Department of the Account Management Group), and Ms. Mary Grace A. Ladia (Senior Specialist, Implementation and Monitoring Section of the Cooperatives and Informal Sector Department)