President Rodrigo Duterte speaks before local officials in Davao City during the Christmas party for barangay officials held at the Davao Recreation Center on Tuesday night, Dec. 27. (Paulo C. Rizal/

President Rodrigo Duterte ( photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte has finally approved the P1,000 increase in the pension of retired Social Security System (SSS) members. But the increase goes with a corresponding 1.5 percent contribution hike come May 2017.

Duterte’s decision to approve the SSS pension hike was announced by Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella in a televised news conference at Malacanang on Tuesday, January 10.

“Regarding the SSS pension increase, the President has approved a P1,000 pension increase this month,” Abella said. “…with a corresponding 1.5% contribution rate hike in May 2017, and an increase in monthly salary credit to P20,000 from P16,000.”

The Palace official explained that the contribution hike would ensure “sustainability.”

“SSS is setting in place, one: legal action plans to reduce contribution delinquency. For example, intensify legal collection and referred delinquent and non-compliant employers,” he said.

SSS Chairman Amado Valdez said the P1,000 pension hike would be implemented this month while the remaining P1, 000 would be in 2022 or earlier.

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani and Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares thanked Duterte, House Speaker Bebot Alvarez, SSS Chair Amado Valdez, for “heeding the voice of the people” in granting the long overdue SSS pension increase.

“We know that the P2, 000 hike is still very minimal for the required decent and livable pension. Yet, we hope that this would help our pensioners to somehow alleviate their hardships. Bayan Muna will continue to push for more reforms and for the earlier implementations of the second P 1,000 tranche of the increase,” Zarate said.

“We hope the president will facilitate the speedy approval of the next tranche,” he said. “Bayan Muna will also help the SSS Board I finding ways to lengthen its fund life without increasing SSS contributions,”

For his part, Colmenares the increase would help the senior citizens. He also urged SSS to “work hard and institute reforms to increase collection and investment revenue.” (

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