AN OFFICIAL of Negros-based labor group General Alliance of Workers Association (Gawa) on Thursday said the approved additional Social Security System (SSS) benefit is a “Johnny come lately” move by the government.

Secretary-General Wennie Sancho said that while they appreciate that the issue on the SSS pension has been resolved, the implementation is still long-overdue.

Sancho said it is unfortunate that the plight of the senior citizen pensioners was taken for granted.

“We failed to recognize them in the twilight of their lives, their past contributions to the progress and development of our nation were not duly noted by giving priority to their SSS pension increase,” he added.

On Wednesday, Malacañang signed a memorandum approving the release of the P1,000 increase in the monthly pension of SSS members.

It approved the proposed increase in the benefit of qualified SSS pensioners and beneficiaries, retroactive from January this year.

The payment is scheduled on March 3 for the January differential of P1,000; and March 10 and 17, respectively, for February and this month’s differentials totaling to P2,000.

Starting April this year, the additional P1,000 increase shall already be incorporated in the regular pension, the agency said.

Sancho said that by the time pensioners will get the nominal increases, their money’s purchasing power will be negated by the effects of oil price increases.

“The looming increases in the prices of petroleum products will again result to high costs of basic goods and services thus, the delayed implementation will just erode the peso’s purchasing power,” he added.