How to increase SSS pensions
Under the present Social Security System administration, pensions which are below the cost of living and dying can never be increased. The bogey of exhausting the fund if pensions were increased scares SSS officials so much that they have decided to reward themselves with hefty bonuses instead.
A bill increasing SSS pensions by P2,000 across the board was reportedly vigorously opposed in the Senate by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile who cares so much about the long-term stability of the SSS that he would deny the less fortunate pensioners the equivalent of a loose change to the multibillion-peso pork barrel kickbacks allegedly sneaked into his and his ilk’s pocket. But if he cares at all, what alternative solution does he suggest? Nothing that I know of.
I have two suggestions for our lawmakers:
(1) Since the SSS is exempt from paying income tax, amend the SSS law to require the agency to set aside at least 30 percent of its net annual income for a fixed pension fund to be used for the sole purpose of increasing pensions across the board by at least 30 percent every, say, five years; and
(2) Alter the composition of the SSS board of trustees to include three representatives from the ranks of the retirees, one of whom must be a woman, like what labor and management each has, thus increasing the number of trustees from seven to nine, after eliminating the lone representative of the general public.
The representatives of the retirees shall be appointed by the president from a list of retirees/senior citizens nominated by associations of retirees and senior citizens registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and with a record of service of at least five years. A bill requiring these qualifications has been prepared by the Philippine Association of Retired Persons for submission to the next Congress.
We shall urge the next Congress and the next president to approve the above suggestions so that SSS members/retirees will be able to benefit from the SSS’ income more than the SSS officers and staff who receive bonuses and perks on top of their salaries, while they remain members of the Government Service Insurance System.
—AMADO F. CABAERO SR., founder and chair emeritus, Philippine Association of Retired Persons
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