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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Gordon urges Duterte to keep SSS pension hike promise

SENATOR Richard Gordon said Wednesday he expected President Rodrigo Duterte to honor his commitment to the Filipino people specifically to the members of the Social Security System (SSS).

Gordon said Duterte is clearly reneging on his promise to grant P2,000 increase in the monthly pensions of SSS members.

It can be recalled that the Chief Executive made a controversial promise to give the P2,000 increase in the monthly pensions of SSS members during the campaign before he was elected as president last May 2016.

The senator said the agency's new board already agreed to the pension increases and even settled to give it in two tranches.

Gordon said SSS pensioners must have their increase as agreed already.

"It is already settled. The new SSS board agreed to increase them by P1,000. The Executive must not renege on that agreement," Gordon said.

Malacanang, according to reports, said that President Duterte intends to raise the pension but he wanted a win-win solution after economic managers led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez sent him a memorandum warning that the fund will run out of funds by 2032 if no compensating measures on members' contributions will be effected.

Malacanang through Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar reportedly said that the President does not want to use taxpayers' money, especially money of non-SSS members, should funding problems arise because of the increase.

But Gordon said this has been delayed for such a very long time already and the government has the obligation to raise the SSS pension in response to reports on the planned implementation of the P2,000 hike of monthly pension of SSS members, with an initial P1,000 increase this year and the remaining P1,000 in 2019.

Based on reports, SSS Chairman Amado Valdez said the fund life of the agency would be shortened to 2032 instead of 2042 if the first installment of P1,000 will be given this year.

But Gordon said private pensioners have long been waiting for this and it is just right for the government to consider giving them what has been promised them during the elections.

But Senator Aquilino Pimentel III defended the President by saying the Chief Executive is seriously studying all the options to help each and every Filipinos as well as members of SSS.

Pimentel said it is just proper for Duterte to be extra cautious in spending money raised or collected under the mandate of the law like the SSS premiums and even taxes. Pimentel was one of those who signed in the resolution pushing for the immediate grant of an increase to SSS pensioners.

Gordon insisted the government can handle this matter which has been discussed and thoroughly studied by experts after the Senate approved a resolution calling for the immediate SSS pension increase that was denied by the past administration.

Gordon said instead of stretching for the system, the government must stretch for the people specifically the pensioners citing the cost of living that has gone up tremendously because of the many factors including the devaluation of peso.

“SSS Board must show their efficiency to collect dues and to maximize their assets so they can increase their life (actuarial). Government and private sector must generate more jobs and foreign direct investment. We need to be realistic too. These people need some increase so they can cope with the present times,” Gordon said. (Sunnex)
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