MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna leaders assailed on Tuesday the plan of the Social Security System (SSS) to delay the implementation of the second tranche of additional P1,000 pension scheduled next year.
Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Bayan Muna chair and former Rep. Neri Colmenares denounced this as a “grvaely insensitive” move.
“Malaki na nga ang nabawas sa dagdag isang libong (P1,000) SSS pension hike dahil sa pagsirit ng presyo ng mga bilihin bunsod ng TRAIN law tapos ngayon ay babaratin na naman ang mga pensyoners. The SSS board is gravely insensitive if they push through with this plan,” Zarate said.
“The SSS board is constantly harping of the need to increase the premium saying that benefits will increase with the contribution hike but they remain silent on what they have done to increase their collections, among others, without raising the contribution,” the progressive solon continued.
The lawmaker reiterated his earlier stance that SSS contribution hikes should be the last resort in extending the pension fund life.
For his part, Colmenares lamented how wages remain low while prices are surging under the Duterte administration.
“The employers, the labor sector and all SSS members will surely oppose such a move especially since SSS has not even started its reforms to increase collection efficiency. SSS reforms first and there may not even be a need for contribution increase if SSS does its job well” he said.
Colmenares said the SSS pension increase should be funded by the agency’s collection, which under the previous administration, has been a dismal 38 to 42 percent. He said SSS failed to collect from many employers who did not transmit the SSS contributions of their employees.
“SSS only collects contribution from 12 million of its 31 million members. If SSS will only be able to collect these, then even the pension increase can be funded without need for contribution increase. If they improve their investment efficiency and maximize income from their investments, SSS funds will be more than enough to fund additional pension increases,” added the progressive leader.
Colmenares suggested the following instead of harping on increasing SSS contributions:
Improve its collection efficiency from the employers of its 31 million members;
Collect the billions in contributions, which delinquent employers failed to remit in the last ten years;
Cut down in bonuses and perks given to its Board members and collect the disallowed P200 million plus retirement package given to SSS Board Members in 2009; and
Collect the fines imposed by the courts against employers who violated the SSS law
Colmenares has also warned SSS that if they failed to release a report, then they do not have a “right to increase contribution.”
“That is why we will still pursue the passage of our SSS pension increase bill in Congress to ensure that the victories of our pensioners will not be taken back through an inordinate contribution increase,” ended Colmenares.
On Monday, Emmanuel Dooc, SSS president and chief executive officer, said he would ask the Office of the President and the Department of Finance to defer the implementation of the second tranche of additional pension scheduled next year as the planned contribution rate hike has yet to push through.
He said SSS would face “difficulties” in implementing the pension increase, stressing that the agency would have to shell out an additional P2.5 billion a month if the pension increase were to be increased up to P2,000 per month in 2019. (davaotoday.com)