DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A victory of militant assertion.
This was how Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao described the recent approval of the pension increase of the 2.3 million pensioners of Social Security System.
“It’s a combination of militant assertion and collective actions of both the pensioners and their supporters that compelled the president to take side with the people,” Casilao said in a statement Wednesday, lauding
On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the P1,000 increase in the pension of retired SSS members. The first tranche will be implemented this month while the second tranche is in 2022 or earlier. But the increase goes with a corresponding 1.5 percent contribution hike come May 2017.
For Casilao, Duterte has “decided morally to heed the calls” to approve the long overdue increase of SSS pensioner. The progressive lawmaker vowed to continue the fight until the next second tranche of P1, 000 will be given to the pensioners.
He, however, urged SSS members to oppose the planned increase in contributions from 11 percent to 12.5 percent or an increase of 1.5 percent on the members’ monthly contributions.
Casilao pointed out that instead of increasing the month contribution, SSS should institute significant reforms such “improving its collection rate and coverage, getting rid of huge salaries and bonuses of executives and risky investments to the private sector.”
According to Anakpawis, in December 2015 the delinquency in premium contributions and penalties of employers pegged up to P4.845 billion in the National Capital Region. Also in the same year, the Commission on Audit upheld its decision ordering SSS to return the P71 Million worth of illegal bonuses.
“The potential and significant losses are due to how the institution is managed, but the burden is being passed on its members, hence, we urge the people to be vigilant and to intensify mass actions pressing reforms beneficial to SSS members,” Casilao said.
Meanwhile, the Associated Labor Unions Spokesperson Alan Tanjusay lauded Duterte for approving the pension increase, saying “it will help pensioners to cope with some but not all of the burdens caused by rising prices of basic commodities and cost of services.”
Like Casilao of Anakpawis, ALU also re-echoed the same demand that SSS management should institute reforms within the system “by pinning down non-remitting employers, stop corruption within and act on 7,000 delinquent employers now pending in the courts.”
“There would be significant improvement in the life fund of SSS if these reforms are enforced. Resorting to quick fix and the path of least resistance raises doubts about ability of SSS commisisoners ability to trim corporate fat. We suggest that President Duterte to direct the SSS open their books and consult with workers since its workers moneythat the SSS is doing placements on,” Tanjusay said. (davaotoday.com)