NETIZENS lauded the approval of the P1,000 increase in the Social Security System (SSS) pension but also criticize the corresponding increase in monthly premium contributions for members.
An informal poll conducted by SunStar Philippines elicited positive but also negative sentiments from people from different walks of life.
Ermelinda Montejo said: "Thank you Tatay Digong for always thinking what's best to ease the poverty of the ordinary men, women & children on the streets.... talagang mahal mo ang bayan at ang Tao!!!!"
A netizen named Batzs Wayne said, "The least he could do to help out the pensioner. I think that is already sufficient enough kaysa wala."
But to some, like academic Nefoi Luczon, Malacañang's announcement was like a drawn-out negotiations that finally came to a head.
"So that's what "win-win" is like. Murag negotiations," Luczon commented when asked on his reaction to the presidential announcement.
Last December, President Rodrigo Duterte backtracked on his campaign promise to release the P2,000 across-the-board-increase but Malacañang officials said the president was merely finding a "win-win" solution to it.
On Tuesday, Duterte through Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Labella announced the approval of the monthly pension, which will be effective this month.
Luczon added the next step government should do is to "re-amend" some provisions of the SSS law particulary on the hefty bonuses that its ranking officials receive.
Jeffrey Robin Avorque, a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) team leader from Tacloban City, who responded with a "Thank you berry match!" to the poll, shared Luczon's view but more upfront in calling out SSS officials.
Meanwhile, Abdullah Riseid, who is an educator and former journalist, said: "Long in coming but still not enough given rising costs."
Riseid said he has a 73-year-old mother who relies on a P3,500 survivor benefit and P10,000 GSIS pension.
"Compare that with the medical requirements of someone above 76. Hurot!" he said.
For netizen Hans Laurence the move is "unreasonable."
"Though the move is good in the eyes of society, this is economically unreasonable."
"The way I understand the system (and please educate me if I am wrong), people working in private institutions/practice will pay monthly, a part of their monthly earning, and will be the basis of how much they'll get as their monthly pension, when they retire. By signing that, the Government is giving people what they (technically) did not earn and pay for," Laurence said.
Jun Diaz believes that the decision to release the additional pension will bring a long term problem to SSS.
"This was a decision done for convenience and to gain popular support .. at the expense of the active SSS members who will now have to contribute to a higher monthly premium to accommodate Duterte's populist decision," Diaz said.
Still, a number expressed their support, crediting Duterte for fulfilling a campaign promise.
Gie Gie Regualos, thanked two members of Congress, Representatives Carlos Zarate and Neri Colmenares, aside from the president.
For others, it was a welcome news. Community organizer Adonis Ragasi of Cagayan de Oro City, said: "OK nalang kontra wala."
While Bergida Donios, a non-government worker from Butuan City said: "Ok lang basta dili ta masahol ha?"
Abella announced in a press conference Tuesday afternoon that Duterte has approved the increase as well as a corresponding 1.5-percent yearly increase in premium contributions.
From the current 11 percent, the contribution rate would go up to 12.5 percent of the monthly salary credit by May this year. Members and employers would have to shell out a total additional amount of P15 to P740 this year.
Premium contributions would go up by 1.5 percent a year until the contribution rate reaches 17 percent from the current 11 percent.
The second tranche of the pension increase, another P1,000, is seen to be distributed by 2022 or earlier, SSS chairman Amado D. Valdez said during the same press conference. Valdez said they could distribute the next increase by 2019 if the reforms being implemented in the fund are successful.
Read: Pensioners happy, traders wary (VLA/Sunnex)