Exclusive: Crisis won’t cut off Pinoys’ social security benefits from Spain

Written by Jeremaiah Opiniano on . Posted in News Flash

An OFW Journalism Consortium news flash exclusive

MANILA—AN economic crisis plaguing Spain will not stop the enforcement of a social security pact between Spain and the Philippines.

Social Security System (SSS) Vice President Judy Frances See told the OFW Journalism Consortium the Spanish government has not fallen short in providing the social security benefits of Filipinos even if these Filipinos have returned to the Philippines.

This means that the SS benefits of Filipinos who became Spanish nationals are portable, or can be transferred from Spain to the Philippines.

“The Philippines has gained multiple fold in terms of benefits exported (by Spain) to the Philippines,” See told a forum on social security for overseas workers recently.

“This (portability of social security) is our earned rights already since Filipino workers have paid (their dues to Spanish social security) already.”

This portability was made possible by a May 21, 1988 original Convention on Social Security between the two countries (which was enforced on October 1, 1989).

An amended version of the Convention on Social Security between the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Spain was signed on 12 November 2002 in Manila, though the Philippine government has yet to ratify this proposed amendment to the 1988 social security convention.

Philippine Senator Loren Legarda, in a privilege speech, said that ratifying this amended convention will provide some 12,638 Filipinos in Spain the maximum benefits.

Spain, in the last few years, is suffering from an economic crisis that has seen unemployment rise to 23 percent (currently the European Union’s highest jobless rate).

The OFW Journalism Consortium reported previously that Filipino workers in Spain displaced by the crisis have availed of 18-month unemployment insurances, or the paro. During the 18-month period, Filipinos must find work in Spain.

Stock estimates of Filipinos in Spain in 2010 show that there are 52,611 Filipinos in Spain (covering 34,098 permanent residents, 13,153 temporary migrants, and 5,360 irregular migrants).

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