Rep. Carlos Zarate said the SSS decision violates the mandate Congress had given the pension fund when it approved Joint Resolution No. 10 in 2017, which called for a P2,000 increase in monthly pension.
Boy Santos
SSS hit over pension hike delay
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - January 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Party-list group Bayan Muna criticized the Social Security System (SSS) yesterday for its decision to defer the P1,000 additional pension increase that is supposed to be paid starting this year.

Rep. Carlos Zarate said the SSS decision violates the mandate Congress had given the pension fund when it approved Joint Resolution No. 10 in 2017, which called for a P2,000 increase in monthly pension.

He said lawmakers agreed to a two-installment payment provided that the second tranche was paid this year.

“The present SSS leadership has assured us that it would institute needed reforms to improve the pension fund life. What happened to these reforms? It is best for the SSS board and management to support the pension increase and work with Congress in looking for means to increase its current fund life,” he said.

Zarate added that lawmakers could appropriate funds for the SSS.

For his part, Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares said the payment of the additional P1,000 pension hike would help pensioners cope with the increase in the prices of products and services caused by higher fuel taxes under the controversial Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

“The administration is imposing higher fuel taxes under TRAIN and yet the SSS is deferring the pension increase? It is insensitive and cruel of the SSS not to give its pensioners a relief they so desperately need,” he said.

He said senior citizens are receiving an average daily pension of P73.

He wondered how these pensioners are able to survive with such a meager amount.

Zarate and Colmenares urged members of the board of trustees and officers of SSS to look for internal sources of income like selling idle assets and maximizing returns on investments to fund the additional P1,000 pension increase.

“They should also reduce their fat compensation, allowances and other emoluments and recover more than P200 million in retirement benefits disallowed by the Commission on Audit,” they said.

SSS vice president for public affairs and special events division Louie Sebastian was quoted in reports as saying that the agency is experiencing “difficulties” and that benefits must be balanced with the ability to provide them through various sources.

Sebastian said the agency is working to have the increase granted in 2020, which is still within President Duterte’s term.

Duterte approved the pension increase covering SSS retirees, survivors and permanently disabled persons.

SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM SSS PENSION
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