Bill on SSS pension increase approved by Senate committee
A bill granting a P2,000 across-the-board increase in the pension of retired Social Security System (SSS) members was approved in a committee level on Tuesday.
Senator Cynthia Villar said the approval of the bill by the Senate committee on government corporations and public enterprises, which she chairs, was “long overdue.”
“Given the rising cost of living, it is high time we give our retirees and their family a monthly pension that will allow them to at least live with dignity,” Villar said in a statement, noting that the amount the retirees have been receiving was way below the P5,000 poverty line.
During the hearing, SSS President Emilio De Quiros Jr. expressed concern that the proposed increase would mean an increase of contribution from 11% to 15% and shortening the fund life from year 2042 to 2029.
At present, SSS has a total of 32.5 million members and 1.8 million pensioners.
But Villar said: “We are able to subsidize the poor through the conditional cash transfer program of the government; I don’t see why we cannot allocate a portion in the General Appropriations Act to subsidize this increase for pensioners.”
“Why don’t we subsidize the senior citizens that have been working for 20 years? They are not asking for this for nothing. They worked 20 years to deserve this. They’re deserving, there’s a list, and it’s legitimate. The others whom we subsidize, we don’t even know who they are,” she added, in a mix of English and Filipino.
After going through the financial state of SSS, Villar said they learned that there was a need to intensify its collection efforts.
“I also suggested not to just focus on big corporations; they should also go after the medium, small, and micro enterprises that are not remitting SSS contributions of employees,” she said in the statement.
Villar said the bill is one of the measures that she would prioritize before the year ends. She said she would also adopt the version passed by the House of Representatives “to expedite the process.” Maila Ager/JE