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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Duterte pushes for SSS pension increase

PRESIDENT-ELECT Rodrigo Duterte reiterates his stand on increasing the social security pension on Tuesday, May 31, in a press conference at the Presidential guest house inside the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) depot in Panacan, Davao City.

“I will increase it, alam niyo dapat binigay ‘yan (the increase must be granted),” Duterte said.

Duterte already vowed to reverse President Aquino’s decision to veto a Congress-approved bill that would grant SSS pensioners additional P2,000 in monthly pension.

He emphasized that the government must treat retired government and private sector workers justly by providing enough pension funds to cover urgent necessities like medicine, whose prices have gone high, and to assure smooth and shorter processes in receiving these pensions.

Duterte also lambasted the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) for its poor services.

“While we have able bodies, we give our money for pension so that we can have something to receive (in old age) in order to buy something, now with the prices of medicines going up, the P2,000 is not even enough,” he said.

“Listen, ang sama ng loob ko sa inyo (SSS, GSIS), ganito, I am a mayor of a city, where people would go to my office to complain, sometimes the SSS and GSIS nagfa-follow up yan sila, and minsan binibigay nila yung pension sa ibang tao and when you are confronted na may namatay na, doon pa ninyo malaman then you try to correct it, and it takes about two years to process it, My God,” Duterte said.

The first Mindanawon President said that the poor service by these government agencies must be corrected. “Yan ang problema sa inyo, yan ang i-correct ninyo and sinasabi ko, one month with only five signatures, not more than that, correction kaagad, ora mismo, para di mahirapan,” he said.

Last January, Aquino vetoed the Congress-approved House Bill 5842 or “An act mandating a P2,000 across-the-board increase in the monthly pension with corresponding adjustment of the minimum monthly pension under the Social Security System, amending for the purpose Section 12 of Republic Act No. 1661, as amended, otherwise known as the Social Security Act of 1997.”

Aquino defended his decision saying that P2,000 increase per retiree – multiplied by the present two million pensioners – would mean a total payout of P56 billion a year – a move that can compromise the SSS benefit system with 31 million individuals in favor of the two million pensioners.

With the additional P2,000 pension hike, Aquino said, the pension fund would incur a P16 billion to P26 billion yearly deficit. At present, SSS has an annual investment income of P30 billion to P40 billion.

“Given this situation, the Social Security System will be constrained to draw from and use its Investment Reserve Fund (IRF) to support the pension increase. Consequently, the IRF will diminish over the years, eventually reaching zero by the year 2029,” the outgoing President said in a previous report.

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