Moratorium on fund payments proposed

Published by rudy Date posted on March 17, 2009

Senator Mar Roxas is batting for a two-year moratorium on the mandatory premium contributions of all workers to the Pag-IBIG Fund.

The chairman of the Senate committee on trade and commerce said the proposal will enable workers in both the private and government sectors to have a bigger take-home pay to help them and their families tide over the economic difficulties.

“At this time that household budgets are constrained, let us give our consumers the choice to continue to contribute to Pag-IBIG or to use their contributions to make both ends meet,” he said. “Housing is important, but we also see how important it is to help our people cope with hunger.”

To ease the hardships of salaried workers, the government granted them bigger personal exemptions from the individual income tax. Minimum wage earners were completely exempted from income tax.

Due to the business slump, many companies have scaled down production, resulting in the reduction of workforce or reduction of the number of working days for workers. For casual or temporary workers who are paid on a daily basis, this means lower take-home pay.

Employers have also frozen salary increases to save on expenses.

In Senate Bill 3127, Roxas is seeking a two-year freeze in the collection of the monthly Pag-IBIG premium contributions of workers in both the private and public sectors, subject to exceptions such as those who would voluntarily opt to continue the contributions to be entitled to housing loans. Those with outstanding Pag-IBIG loans are expected to prefer to continue their premium contributions to keep their status as members in good standing.

Roxas noted that salaries of workers remain or even less, while the domestic economy reels from the adverse effects of the global financial storm.

“While the mandatory monthly Pag-IBIG contribution serves the long-term goal of housing for all, every peso counts when it comes to each family’s survival,” he said.- Fel V. Maragay, Manila Standard Today

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