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Solon condemns Aquino veto on pension hike: Has he no heart?

/ 04:41 PM January 14, 2016

A militant lawmaker who authored the proposed law increasing the Social Security System (SSS) pension has condemned the veto on the bill by President Benigno Aquino III.

In a statement on Thursday, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares accused Aquino of having no compassion for the workers who could have benefited from higher pension.

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“Walang puso ba talaga si President Aquino? This is patently antipensioner, antipoor and antiworker! The P2,000 hike is very reasonable and is badly needed by pensioners and their dependents,” Colmenares said.

The lawmaker urged both houses of Congress to overturn Aquino’s veto in a two-thirds vote.

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“I am now calling on the House of Representatives and the Senate to side with the people and override the Aquino veto. Di pa tapos ang laban!” he added.

Under the 1987 Constitution, both houses of Congress may overturn a president’s veto of a bill in a separate two-thirds vote.

This means the House of Representatives alone may overturn the veto with 191 of its 287 members’ support.

Aquino vetoed the law which would have increased the monthly pension by P2,000 across the board, making it P3,200 from P1,200 for those with 10 credited years of service, and P4,000 from P2,400 for those with 20 years.

READ: Aquino vetoes increase in SSS pension

Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said Aquino was worried that the “stability of the entire SSS benefit system” would be “seriously compromised” in favor of two million pensioners and their dependents.

This was because the proposed increase would result in a negative income for the SSS, Aquino said.

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Aquino added that the passage of the bill would force the SSS to use the Investment Reserve Fund (IRF) to fund the pension increase. He said this would result in the IRF reaching zero by 2029.

Aquino has also thumbed down the proposal to lower personal income and corporate tax, citing a hole in the revenue stream.

Colmenares said SSS pension remained low because of inefficient collection of contributions, failure to recover receivables by prosecuting employers who failed to remit employees’ contribution, and the hefty perks and bonuses the SSS management board received.

“The SSS failed to undertake institutional reforms that will address these inefficiencies for so long and is the one in fact resorting to a ‘quick fix’ solution of solely relying on contribution increases to fund benefit improvements,” Colmenares said.

The militant lawmaker proposed to address the dismal condition of pensioners first by increasing the monthly pension, at the same time institute reforms to strengthen the SSS fund life.

For the 2016 elections, Colmenares is running as an independent candidate under Sen. Grace Poe. RC

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Neri Colmenares, pension, pension increase, Social Security System
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