WHILE lauding the P1,000 increase in Social Security System (SSS) pensions, Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon said that the law prohibits the SSS to recommend an increase in benefits that would require an increase in contribution.
"The SSS is not allowed to raise the premium rates so it can increase benefits," he said, citing Section 4 of Republic Act 8282, or the Social Security Law.
Drilon thumbed down the plan to raise the rate of monthly contribution of SSS members to finance the Duterte administration's decision to increase the benefits of its roughly two million pensioners.
"While the executive's decision to finally grant the long-awaited increase in the pension of SSS retirees is commendable, it should not be used to justify an increase in the premium payment," Drilon said.
Drilon said that the increase in benefits of SSS pensioners must not come from a similar increase in the burden shouldered by current SSS contributors.
"The law is crystal clear in that regard," he said.
A part of section 4 (2) states that "increases in benefits shall not require any increase in the rate of contribution."
The senator explained that SSS can only implement an increase in the benefits, subject to the approval of the President, "if such increase is based on the actuarial soundness of the reserve fund" and as "such shall not require any increase in the rate contribution."
Drilon said that while the adjustment in the rate of contribution will take effect by May 2017, it is clear that such action is carried out in order to fund the pension increase.
"The President's move to help our aging SSS pensioners is laudable, but the executive branch must also ensure that this pension hike will not be used as an excuse to enforce higher contributions from SSS members," Drilon said. (Sunnex)