Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate

Says SSS pensioners already living at sub-human levels due to 10-year high inflation

Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate today branded as “cruel and insensitive” the decision of the Social Security System (SSS) to defer the P1,000 additional pension hike for 2019.

“Yung TRAIN law nga maski todo pahirap na sa mamamayan ipinatupad pa din ang second tranche, pero itong second tranche ng P2,000 SSS pension hike ay ayaw ipatupad. Makakatulong sana ito sa mga pensioners lalo pa at ang tataas na ng mga bilihin dahil sa TRAIN law pero ipinagkakait pa ito ng SSS,” said Colmenares

“As it is, the state of SSS pensioners are already sub-human, living with an equivalent of just P73 a day in pensions. It is cruel and insensitive of the SSS to deny its pensioners a break they so desperately need,” stressed Colmenares.

Colmenares belied SSS claims that granting the additional P1,000 pension increase would endanger the life of the retirement fund, saying it had enough time to raise its income by: (1) improving its collection efficiency from its 31 million members and their employers; (2) collecting billions in overdue contributions from delinquent employers who failed to remit in the last 10 years; (3) cutting down bonuses and perks given to SSS officials and recovering more than P200 million in disallowed retirement packages given to the SSS Board Members in 2009; and (4) collecting the fines imposed by the courts against employers who violated the SSS law.

Meanwhile, Rep. Zarate said that “the House Joint Resolution No. 10 passed by the House of Representatives in 2017 mandating the SSS pension increase does not allow for an increase in premium contributions. We also have House Joint Resolution 22 mandating the implementation of the pension hike 2nd tranche this year.Also the present SSS leadership has assured to institute needed reforms to improve its fund life. What happened to these reforms? Again, 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,”

“If this is not enough, then Congress can always provide the fund as provided under Section 20 of RA 8282 as amended. Instead of diverting the P75 billion in pork barrel, Congress can provide these funds to senior citizens’ pension. There is no way that the SSS will go bankrupt since under Section 21of the said law, the Philippine government guarantees the benefits and solvency of the SSS,” ended Colmenares.###

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