Duterte OKs SSS pen­sion hike

11,000 will be im­ple­mented this month, an­other 11,000 in 2022

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By ELENA L. ABEN

Pres­i­dent Duterte has ap­proved a 11,000 in­crease in the So­cial Se­cu­rity Sys­tem (SSS) pen­sion ef­fec­tive this month, Mala­cañang an­nounced yes­ter­day.

Along with the pen­sion hike, how­ever, is a 1.5 per­cent in­crease in the con­tri­bu­tion rate, ac­cord­ing to Pres­i­den­tial spokesman Ernesto Abella.

“The Pres­i­dent has ap­proved a 11,000 pen­sion hike this month,” Abella an­nounced in a press brief­ing at the Palace.

SSS Chair­man Amado Valdez said an­other 11,000 pen­sion hike will be im­ple­mented in 2022 or even

ear­lier, pos­si­bly 2019.

“We pro­jected the next 11,000 in 2022 but if we are able to im­ple­ment and get fa­vor­able re­sults, maybe it won’t take un­til 2022, maybe by 2019 we’d be able to com­ply with the next 11,000,” Valdez said.

Abella told re­porters that Pres­i­dent Duterte ap­proved the in­crease to “ful­fill a so­cial con­tract with the Filipino peo­ple..., while ex­er­cis­ing fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure the eco­nomic sus­tain­abil­ity.”

The funds cov­er­ing the in­crease, Abella said, will be through cur­rent con­tri­bu­tions and in­vest­ment re­serve fund, point­ing out that the Pres­i­dent is not amenable to us­ing tax­pay­ers’ money for the pen­sion in­crease be­cause the SSS is a pri­vate pen­sion fund.

SSS to­tal as­sets are 1487 bil­lion as of Oc­to­ber, 2016, and its fund life is un­til 2042. With the 11,000 in­crease, the fund life will con­tinue un­til 2040 when the con­tri­bu­tion rate and in­crease in monthly salary credit from 116,000 to 120,000 is im­ple­mented by May, 2017, he added.

Thus, start­ing May, there will a 1.5 per­cent con­tri­bu­tion rate in­crease or 12.5 per­cent, from the cur­rent 11per­cent con­tri­bu­tion rate.

“In peso value, the ad­di­tional to­tal con­tri­bu­tion will range from 115 to 1740 equally shared by em­ployer and em­ployee,” Abella ex­plained.

“The proper per­spec­tive is to view SSS as a long-term sav­ings and not as an ex­pense as ac­tively pay­ing SSS mem­bers af­ter all en­joy ben­e­fits, specif­i­cally six ben­e­fits and loan priv­i­leges,” he stated.

Abella fur­ther said that to en­sure sus­tain­abil­ity, SSS is set­ting in place le­gal ac­tion plans to re­duce con­tri­bu­tion delin­quency, as well as ex­ec­u­tive in­ter­ven­tions needed to im­prove col­lec­tion through is­suance of an Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der (EO).

Slight de­lay But Valdez said that while the SSS pen­sion in­crease takes ef­fects this month, there might be a slight de­lay to around Fe­bru­ary “due to some sys­tems re­quire­ment.”

“Kailan­gan ng re­com­pu­ta­tions so there might be a slight de­lay,” he said dur­ing the press­con.

With the ap­proval of the SSS pen­sion hike, Valdez thanked the Pres­i­dent “for his sense of car­ing for our pen­sion­ers.”

“As fa­ther of peo­ple, he is the fa­ther of ev­ery­body,” he said.

Valdez also thanked the eco­nomic man­agers “for the pru­dence in re­mind­ing us that we have to en­sure sus­tain­abil­ity of the fund.” In do­ing so, he said, the life span of the fund will even pass the thresh­old of 2022 and per­haps be­yond.

He like­wise thanked Congress for ex­press­ing the pub­lic sen­ti­ment about the need to take care of our el­derly.

Erring em­ploy­ers

Mean­while, Valdez said the agency will now crack the whip against erring em­ploy­ers.

“You will find in the fol­low­ing days cases to be filed against erring em­ploy­ers. There will be some con­tempt charges against em­ploy­ers who do not re­spond to the sum­mons of the court. Be­cause the fund is a so­cial pro­tec­tion, so that we are en­sured that the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion of re­tirees is well pro­tected,” he told re­porters.

Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Em­manuel Piñol, who was present dur­ing Mon­day’s Cab­i­net meet­ing wherein the SSS pen­sion hike in­crease was dis­cussed, ear­lier said the Pres­i­dent has or­dered the fil­ing of charges against, and the ar­rest of em­ploy­ers who do not re­mit SSS con­tri­bu­tions of their em­ploy­ees.

Duterte gave the or­der af­ter he was in­formed by Valdez that only per 40 per­cent of the 33 mil­lion SSS mem­bers are pay­ing their pre­mi­ums.

No more ex­ces­sive perks

As the Pres­i­dent wants to re­form the SSS, Piñol also said Duterte has or­dered that ex­ces­sive al­lowances and hon­o­rar­ium given to its top of­fi­cials be stopped as part the mea­sures to stream­line and en­sure the vi­a­bil­ity of the agency. (With re­ports from Genalyn D. Kabiling)

RAV­AGED BY FIRE – Res­i­dents sal­vage what­ever they can from what re­mains of their homes in Barangay North Bay Boule­vard, Navotas, which was hit by a fire early Tues­day that left over 1,000 fam­i­lies home­less. (Fed­erico Cruz)

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