BAYAN Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Sunday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to immediately sign the P2,000 increase in the pensions given by the Social Security System.
He made the call amid the recommendation of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and National Economic and Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia that without an accompanying member’s contribution increase, the P2,000 pension hike would only jack up the unfunded liabilities of the SSS from P3.5 trillion to P5.9 trillion.
“This is the same scare tactic used by the previous SSS administration,” Zarate said. “The concession to give the pension increase in two tranches was allowed by Congress on the strong representations by the new SSS leadership so that the SSS could still raise more funds.”
“It is utterly ridiculous for these Cabinet secretaries to say that the agency would go bankrupt,” the congressman added.
With the initial P1,000 pension increase to start this January, “it would mean just P33 per day of additional funds for the elderly pensioners,” he raised.
He echoed the stance of SSS Chairman Amado Valdez that the P1,000 initial pension increase could be done as early as December 2016, and that the SSS would not go bankrupt.
To raise membership premium must be the least and even the last option amid the SSS pension increase, he said.
President Duterte said he would want a further discussion of the P2,000 pension hike as Neri Colmenares, Bayan Muna chairperson, accused Dominguez, Diokno and Pernia of “trying to delude the people and the President.”
“They are trying to sabotage the distribution of the P2,000 pension increase even if it actually has the fund availability,” he said.
He, however, admitted the pension increase would shorten the SSS fund life from 2025 to 2029, instead to 2042.
“Assuming this is true, 14 years is more than enough time for the government and SSS to find ways to increase its fund life. In 2001, SSS declared that it had a fund life of only five years. Yet, SSS was able to prolong it to 2042,” he said.