New year, new hope for seniors?
It is traditional that as a new year starts, people are hopeful that it will be better than previous years. We seniors are no different, especially since 2019 ended with portents of good things to come, like the enactment of the law creating the National Commission of Senior Citizens.
The commission is tasked to create programs that will provide more care for the concerns of seniors, including welfare, benefits and pension. It will also reportedly look into the pension system in the country.
In previous committee hearings on the proposed law, it was pointed out that the pension system in the Philippines is lopsided in favor of certain sectors.
For example, while pensioners from the private sector and from civil government service receive their pensions from the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), retirees from the military and the national police service get theirs from budgetary allocations in the General Appropriations Act.
It has also been pointed out that retirees from constitutional offices get their pensions at a much higher ratio to their base pay compared to those receiving pensions from SSS and GSIS.
Such discriminatory practices should have been scrapped by now, since the Senior Citizens Act of 2010, signed by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, mandated that ALL pensioners (and this includes pensioners under the Portability Law) be given the same rights, privileges and benefits given to pensioners under different laws.
With Congress about to resume session in a few days, we seniors are hoping that bitter pills like the Portability Law and lopsided pension rates be made better-tasting by amending these laws, or enacting new ones to make our sunset years brighter.
MAFEO R. VIBAL
Vice President for External Affairs
Philippine Association of Retired Persons
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