I HAVE been wanting to write to you for quite some time about pensioner’s adjustments to their SSS retirement pensions. This info has never been disseminated except by word of mouth from one pensioner to another. I was able to receive mine in May, 2014 through the prodding of my former classmate in USC and who got hers before me, together with her retired subordinates the year before.

I could not understand why SSS has stopped releasing these benefits since about mid 2015. A notice was posted at SSS that pensioners may follow up late last December or early last January. Until now however, everything has been held pending.

This adjustment could be availed of if pensioners were working between 1985-1990.

How could we find out as to the status of these claims. I hope and pray that you could help my fellow pensioners who are in need of these benefits.--cherryadelfa@gmail.com

Daughter’s plea to Duterte

(The letter is addressed to the President-elect)

I once heard you call your daughter drama queen. My father would probably say the same for me. I was not raped, but my father is a desaparecido for nine years now, which brings out the drama queen in me.

I am Aya Santos, daughter of Leo Velasco, a missing peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

My father was abducted in February 2007 in Cagayan de Oro City by several men in black jackets with “CIDG” written on the back. They were on board a gray L300 van where they forcefully threw my father inside like a pig. I never saw him since then.

Nine months after his disappearance, my mother, Elizabeth Principe, was abducted and detained for one and a half years for charges she didn’t commit. She was released but is still in hiding because the threats to her life continue.

I have searched for my father in military and police camps and sought remedies in court. But all I got was a response from an ISAFP officer saying, “We have been after your father for a long time. He is number 2 in the NPA (New People’s Army). But, unfortunately he is not with us.” This reply only confirmed the government’s motive to get my father.

The past two presidents, Gloria Arroyo and Noynoy Aquino, were so determined not to let out the truth about the desaparecidos, even to their families. Aside from my father, there are 12 other peace consultants and staff members who disappeared under the Arroyo regime; and 30 more under the Aquino regime. The attempt to cover-up the crime and the unwillingness of the Aquino regime to talk peace with the NDFP made it hard for us to seek for our loved ones. I have lost hope of finding him.

But with your willingness to talk peace with the CPP/NPA/NDFP and to release all political prisoners, I might also have a chance to find my father. This is why I am asking you, Mr. President, to help me find him and the other desaparecidos who worked for change in our country. I am prepared to know his fate no matter how tragic it is—how he may have suffered and died and where his remains are.

I just want to know the truth.

We look forward to the promised change. And for us victims of human rights violations, change is getting justice and an end to the State practice of enforced disappearances.--Aya Santos, daughter of missing Leo Velasco (letter sent as p.r. by Karapatan)