Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Duterte approves P1,000 SSS pension hike

MANILA (Updated) -- President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the P1,000 increase in the monthly pension of Social Security System (SSS) members, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella told reporters Tuesday.

Abella said the pension hike would be sourced from current SSS contributions and Investment Reserve Fund.

He explained though that while Duterte approved to raise the monthly pension, the Chief Executive was not amenable to using taxpayers’ money to fund the increase since SSS is a private pension fund.

SSS chair Amado Valdez, who was at the same press briefing Tuesday, said the P1,000 hike would be distributed to SSS pensioners within this month.

However, SSS president Emmanuel Dooc said there may be slight delays in the distribution as SSS has to "recompute" its finances.

"There might be a slight delay but we will do our best to resolve this immediately," Dooc said.

As a result of the approved pension hike, Abella said the contribution rate would increase in May this year by 1.5 percent, or 12 percent from the current 11 percent contribution rate.

Abella said the additional total contribution will range from P15 to P740. It means that an additional premium of P15 will be added to monthly contribution of SSS members paying the minimum P110, while P740 premium will be added to members paying the maximum P1,760.

Dooc said the 1.5 percent increase in contribution would be done every year.

The initial proposal was to increase the pension of SSS members by P2,000.

The President, however, admitted in a recent interview that his economic managers were not keen on granting the P2,000 across-the-board increase in the SSS pension as the agency might face bankruptcy.

Valdez said that during the Cabinet meeting held Monday, the additional P1,000 was already “part of the package” approved by the President but was still “subject to conditionality.”

He said the next P1,000 increase might be received by 2022 or at the earlier time.

"We projected the next P1,000 [increase in pension] in 2022 but if we are able to implement and get favorable results, it would be earlier. It might be accomplished by 2019," Valdez said.

Valdez welcomed Duterte's decision to approve the proposal and vowed to cooperate with the government.

"We want to thank profusely our President for his sense of caring for our pensioners. We want to also thank the economic managers for their prudence in reminding us that we have to ensure the sustainability of the fund," Valdez said. “[We will] see to it that the SSS will do its duty by seeing to it that we have efficient effort to collect [funds]." (Sunnex)
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