THE Federation of Free Workers (FFW) has expressed hope that President Duterte will appoint a leader of the Social Security Commission (SSC) “who truly understands and represents the interest of the working class.”
Jose Sonny G. Matula, FFW president, told the BusinessMirror that the chairman of the SSC should also conduct regular consultations with the leaders of “true” labor groups like the FFW, which, he claims, has 250 workers’ unions.
SSC is the highest policy-making body of the Social Security System (SSS).
Matula aired FFW’s position after the career of Dean Amado D. Valdez and Jose Gabriel M. La Viña at the SSC was terminated by Duterte.
Valdez was appointed SSC chairman in October 2016, and his term ended in June 2017.
The President appointed La Viña as SSC commissioner in 2016, and his term, likewise, ended in 2017.
Matula said that the FFW is hoping that Duterte will appoint a chairman who would really decide and act on behalf of the workers’ interests and benefits, since the SSS was established to ensure that the government has an agency that will focus on the workers’ financial needs for health, calamity and death, among others.
Allan Montaño, a labor lawyer and currently president of the Philippine Association of Voluntary Arbitrators Inc., concurred with Matula.
Montaño, a former FFW president, explained that the “SSS’s mandate is to provide social protection. Although tripartite in character, the overwhelming membership of SSS came from the labor sector. Logic, if not moral compulsion, requires that its leader should be pro-labor,” he said.
“[T]he said leader should think and think on how to improve and strengthen a sustainable package of benefits to its members as, indeed, a truly social protection measure to fulfill its mandate,” Montaño added.