The Social Security System has been in the news recently due to concerns about its long-term viability, in spite of its efforts to increase collections. Because of the pension hike approved by the national government, the second tranche of which will be implemented next year, the SSS fund’s life is expected to last only until 2026. In fact, according to SSS president and chief executive Emmanuel Dooc, SSS is expected to shell out an additional P2.5 billion a month beginning 2019. Aggravating the rapid rise of SSS’s expenditures is the decline in its investment income following a drop in the stock market. For the millions of SSS members in the country (including myself), it is not comforting to be told that SSS may no longer have funds to give out benefits after seven years.
Overlooked in the news are the gains made by SSS in terms of its collections, which increased by almost 2 percent during the first quarter of the year compared to the same period the previous year, partly due to its aggressive collection drives and to the implementation of the real-time posting of contributions. Playing a central role in achieving these gains are the thousands of SSS employees, many of whom do their work conscientiously often beyond the call of duty. It was a privilege to have met nine of these employees, all of whom are national finalists of the 2018 SSS Search for Best Employees. I was a member of the five-person National Selection Committee who interviewed them on August 17. Allow me to give you a glimpse of the inspiring stories that these dedicated SSS employees shared with us.
Aileen Aducal, a junior member service representative, developed a virtual document finder that resulted in a quick and easy search of registration documents, a key ingredient in achieving ISO 9001:2008 in her branch. Aside from improving customer service, this innovation also eased her workload and that of her co-employees.
Erika Palado, a senior member service representative, introduced improvements on the existing processes at the Corporate Legal Services Division, which yielded timely and accurate processing of inquiries and claims for housing loan records, certificates of title to mortgaged properties, notice of full payments, and release of real estate mortgage, and other important documents. This resulted in a noticeable decrease in the number of irate and unsatisfied member-borrowers.
Cristita Tadili, a roving service representative, conducts information seminars for establishments in the BPO industry, assisting them with respect to their SSS-related concerns such as reporting new employees and proper accomplishment of SSS forms. She does not mind visiting these companies during the graveyard shift, even if it meant having less time for her own family.
Aducal, Palado, and Tadili are the finalists for Best Customer Service Employee.
Christina Alexia Castro, a junior human resource analyst, studied, on her own, several computer and design-related applications that allowed her to administer the SSS HR Intranet Site, successfully migrating over 300 files, and uploading over 700 files, among others. She also developed and currently manages the database of issues and concerns raised by employees, which is a critical element of SSS’s Employee Relations program.
Dina Flores, an assistant program specialist, prepared guidelines on the three-month advance pensions for pensioners affected by the armed conflict in Marawi City, tropical storm Urduja and typhoon Vinta, and the Mayon Volcano phreatic eruption. Known for her sunny disposition, she serves as an example to her co-employees on how to execute ordinary tasks extraordinarily well.
Ysmael Samorillo, a junior executive assistant, introduced the SSSsipag Collect, which allows members in far-flung areas to consistently pay their contributions. Coming from a poor family himself, he founded a volunteer organization named AtinOrg in 2014, which conducts weekly feeding, storytelling, and educational games for children; and which provides school supplies through the help of donors. He also encourages the parents of these children to continue paying their SSS contributions, and explains to them the benefits and privileges of regularly paying members.
Castro, Flores, and Samorillo are the finalists for Best Support Service Employee.
Corporate Executive Officer III Dolores Carranza initiated the review of existing Provident Fund processes and developed enhancements that greatly improved the delivery of service. The expeditious processing of PF member loans significantly reduced the volume of telephone calls and follow-ups. Her efforts also improved the fiscal standing of PF, the earnings of which increased from 2.5 percent to a maximum of 5.50 percent of the total portfolio.
Corporate Executive Officer II Arvi Jonathan Resultay developed productivity tools that reduced the time spent by account officers in preparing monthly reports, which they could now allocate for the more urgent and difficult tasks of collection and coverage, and employer visits or investigations. His innovations also reduced the time spent in doing manual tasks such as verifying employer records, preparing payments, and computing delinquencies and collectibles among others. These have benefitted account officers in the Agoo, Dagupan, Urdaneta, La Union, and Baguio branches.
Foreign Representative I Lucille Blesilda Simbol manages all operational aspects of both the Hong Kong and Macau Foreign Representative Offices. In her desire to have as many OFWs registered for SSS membership and to ensure universal coverage, she coordinated with the Hong Kong authorities and the social welfare attache of the DSWD on extending services to OFWs incarcerated in Hong Kong prisons. The various programs she manages resulted to a 21 percent increase in OFW contributions year-on-year. According to her, she deals with loneliness in a foreign land by applying dedication to her work.
Carranza, Resultay, and Simbol, are the finalists for Best Supervisor.
These SSS employees are examples of public servants par excellence. Their deeds serve as inspiration for other government employees who strive to give their best in spite of the challenges of working in a bureaucratic organization and in a highly-charged political environment.
Raymund B. Habaradas is an Associate Professor at the Management and Organization Department of the Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business of De La Salle University, where he teaches Management of Organizations, Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility, and Management Action Research. He is also the Director of the DLSU Center for Business Research and Development, a fellow of the Social Enterprise Research Network and president of the Philippine Academy of Management. He welcomes comments at [email protected] The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.