Bayan Muna opposes SSS plan to delay 2nd round pension hike
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate and its Chairman Neri Colmenares have called out the Social Security System over its plan to delay the implementation of the second phase of the pension hike until 2020.
“The SSS board is gravely insensitive if they push through with this plan,” Zarate said in a statement on Tuesday.
Zarate added that the increase in SSS members’ monthly pension is badly needed as the public has been reeling from the effects of inflation, brought by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
“Malaki na nga ang nabawas sa dagdag isang libong SSS pension hike dahil sa pagsirit ng presyo ng mga bilihin bunsod ng TRAIN law tapos ngayon ay babaratin na naman ang mga pensyoners,” the lawmaker said.
In a previous report, SSS asked to delay the second tranche of President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise to increase the pension benefit. SSS has already provided the first tranche (P1,000) in 2018, but looks to give the second tranche (P1,000) in 2020, instead of the original 2019 plan.
SSS cited decreased revenues and increasing disbursements for this proposal.
Zarate and Colmenares maintained that increasing contributions to cope with budgetary constraints should be the “last resort” of the SSS.
“We have always pointed out, as what former Chair Amado Valdez also believes then, that SSS contribution hikes should be the last resort in extending the pension fund life,” Zarate said.
“The SSS board is constantly harping of the need to increase the premium saying that benefits will increase with the contribution hike but they remain silent on what they have done to increase their collections, among others, without raising the contribution,” he added.
Colmenares said that SSS would not need additional funds to implement the second tranche, only if it would improve its work.
“If they improve their investment efficiency and maximize income from their investments, SSS funds will be more than enough to fund additional pension increases,”
Colmenares even provided SSS specific steps for the provision of the pension hike.
“SSS should improve its collection efficiency from the employers of its 31 Million members; collect the billions in contributions, which delinquent employers failed to remit in the last ten years; cut down in bonuses and perks given to its Board members and collect the disallowed P200 Million plus retirement package given to SSS Board Members in 2009 and collect the fines imposed by the courts against employers who violated the SSS law,” Colmenares said.
“No Report, no right to increase contribution,” he added.