P1K SSS pension increase insufficient–labor group
A labor group on Wednesday expressed disappointment with the inadequate addition of P1,000 to the monthly pension of 2.2 million Social Security System (SSS) pensioners approved by President Rodrigo Duterte last Tuesday.
Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) said that the President did not follow through with his electoral promise, that the hike was short of what was promised but was also “clearly insufficient” to cover the nutritional and medical needs of the pensioners.
And as prices of commodities are expected to steadily rise after the increase of oil and electricity rates, the hike will only be “cancelled out,” it said.
“It will only take a few months or even maybe only weeks before pensioners and their families realize that the pension hike will have no impact at all. And to make matters worse, the take-home-pay of our current national work force daily will decrease as they shall bear half or 0.75 percent increase in contribution,” BMP spokesperson Luke Espiritu said in a statement.
The group also said that Duterte should have made employers pay the 1.5 percent contribution increase if he really intended to ease the plight of unfortunate pensioners and permit workers to retire with dignity.
Espiritu suggested that the President could have launched necessary reforms to plug the holes in the operations of the heavily criticized SSS.
“In order to once and for all free the SSS from corruption and ensure efficiency, it is essential for government to guarantee pensioners’ welfare by heavily penalizing liable SSS officials for mismanaging investments and employers who fail to remit contributions,” Espiritu added.
Espiritu was referring to the reported mismanagement of the state pension’s investments, the “self-rewarded bonuses of SSS officials,” and the failure of many employers to forward SSS contribution dues despite its automatic deduction from workers’ weekly pay slips.
He added that Duterte must force employers to bear the entirety of the contribution increase and rid the agency of abusive officials.
“Duterte and his economic managers have only displayed their true colors, nothing but rabid guardians of the interests of oligarchs and not of the marginalized majority,” Espiritu said. CDG/rga
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