Palace men dared to live on P40 a day
Try to live on P40 a day.
That was the challenge issued by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and his former House colleague, Neri Colmenares, to the country’s economic managers blocking the P2,000 increase in pension for Social Security System (SSS) retirees.
The current P1,200 base pension received by SSS beneficiaries amounts to P40 a day.
“It’s so easy for them to obstruct the pension hike because they are not the ones experiencing not being able to eat right or to buy medicines to help pensioners live longer,” Zarate said on Wednesday. “Millions of pensioners will benefit from the pension hike but it seems they (economic managers) consider credit ratings to be more important than the lives of our senior citizens.”
Zarate and Colmenares challenged Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Director General Ernesto Pernia to live on the SSS base pension to understand the plight of the beneficiaries.
The three economic officials earlier made a recommendation blocking the joint resolution passed by Congress to increase pensions by P2,000, with the first tranche supposedly being released this month and second tranche in 2019.
The economic managers warned that the increase might shorten the life of the SSS fund unless it was accompanied by higher contributions among its members.
But Colmenares, chair of Bayan Muna, questioned the figures put out by the economic managers.
“SSS announced during the deliberation of our bill last Congress that a P2,000 increase will deplete SSS funds by 2029. The current proposal is only P1,000 increase in 2017 and the other P1,000 increase sometime in 2020 and yet, the economic managers threatened that this will deplete the fund life further to 2027,” Colmenares said.
“How come a P1,000 increase will result in a shorter fund life than a P2,000 increase? This is absurd,” he said.
Colmenares argued that the SSS would not go bankrupt if it were to improve its collection.
“Out of the 40.8 million employed labor force, only the contribution of 11.8 million SSS members are remitted. If SSS will be able to collect from 16 million members, its fund life will increase by many years,” he said.
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