Posted on November 15, 2013

There is a need to include everyone in social security systems in the Gulf region, a leading expert has said. “We hope that eventually countries in the Gulf and Middle East try to open up and cover (in their social security systems in place in their countries) not only their citizens, but also the foreign workers,” said Emilio De Quiros Jr, president and CEO of Philippine Social Security System.

He was speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the World Social Security Summit Qatar 2013 which concluded on Thursday. De Quiros said that until such a mechanism was in place, negotiations on bilateral agreements on social security systems can’t begin. The expert said that unlike in the Gulf, the social security system in the Philippines covers all workers, whether they are local citizens or expats. Also, Filipino workers abroad are also covered by their country’s system.

“Our office in Qatar provides and assists Filipino workers in continuing their insurance protection. We encourage them to continue their remittance and contribution to social security so that when they go back to Manila there is no gap and no problems when they retire from work,” he said.

The expert said that many Filipinos in Qatar were enrolling and renewing their memberships and so far around 20,000 memberships had been activated. About the benefits, he said that it’s not like the worker gets benefits only when he/she retires. In fact if the worker got ill, he/she could avail a sickness allowance, while women could avail maternity allowance.

The money, however, will be in Filipino currency, so they would need to nominate a bank in Philippines where social security system would credit them the amount.

“My message to the large Filipino community in Qatar is that they should visit us at our embassy and reactivate their membership because it’s very important for them to have social security.”

Philippines is currently facing its worst national tragedy after a devastating super typhoon. Although social security systems are not designed to deal with calamities, the expert said that there were advantages to having one even in such situations.

“With social security systems we do a number of things. Firstly, we would give out donations, we help out both our employees who are there. Our branches are currently reviewing damage in the affected areas and impact on our employees,” he added.

Source: Gulf Times