SSS seeks EO for re­lease of ad­di­tional pen­sion

The Philippine Star - - NEWS - By MARY GRACE PADIN – With Mayen Jay­ma­lin

State-run So­cial Se­cu­rity Sys­tem (SSS) is seek­ing the is­suance of an ex­ec­u­tive or­der or the en­act­ment of a bill to amend its char­ter to au­tho­rize the re­lease of the sec­ond tranche of pen­sion in­crease to its mem­bers.

SSS pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Em­manuel Dooc stressed the P1,000 ad­di­tional pen­sion ben­e­fit can only be granted through ei­ther these mea­sures as the state fund cur­rently has no author­ity to in­crease pen­sion.

“We do not have the power to give an ad­di­tional P1,000 ben­e­fit by next year. The SSC (So­cial Se­cu­rity Com­mis­sion) does not have the power to ad­just the con­tri­bu­tion rate or amount of monthly pen­sion, only the Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic and Congress have the power to ap­prove a pen­sion in­crease,” Dooc said.

Dooc, how­ever, said the SSS would en­sure the sec­ond tranche of the in­crease will be im­ple­mented be­fore Pres­i­dent Duterte’s term ends.

“Just like what I have said ear­lier, our goal here in SSS is to see to it that we are able to re­lease the sec­ond tranche still within the term of Pres­i­dent Duterte, which can be ap­proved in 2022 dur­ing his last year in of­fice,” he said.

Dooc added the in­crease in pen­sion should also have a cor­re­spond­ing in­crease in the con­tri­bu­tion rate of mem­bers, or ad­just­ment in the min­i­mum and max­i­mum monthly salary cred­its in the SSS.

Dooc said this up­ward ad­just­ment in con­tri­bu­tion is vi­tal for the con­tin­ued vi­a­bil­ity of the pen­sion fund.

“This is im­por­tant to sup­port the vi­a­bil­ity of the pen­sion fund and to as­sure our cur­rent mem­bers that the SSS will still be there in their times of con­tin­gen­cies to ap­pease our cur­rent mem­bers,” he said.

Pres­i­dent Duterte last year ap­proved the P1,000 in­crease in SSS pen­sion ben­e­fits. The sec­ond tranche, or an­other P1,000 in­crease, is slated by 2022, or the end of Duterte’s term.

La­bor groups pressed the na­tional gov­ern­ment to pro­vide bud­get for the state-run pen­sion fund.

The Fed­er­a­tion of Free Work­ers (FFW) said the gov­ern­ment should fol­low its com­mit­ment to in­clude SSS in the an­nual bud­get as pro­vided un­der the law.

FFW said the law al­lows Congress to an­nu­ally ap­pro­pri­ate funds for the op­er­a­tion of the SSS and en­able it to meet es­ti­mated yearly ex­penses.

Congress may also ap­pro­pri­ate funds needed to as­sure the main­te­nance of an ad­e­quate work­ing bal­ance of the funds of the SSS, the FFW said.

Dooc said the pen­sion fund has al­ready shelled out an ad­di­tional P33 bil­lion in 2017 fol­low­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the first tranche of in­crease.

He said this amount will be higher for the sec­ond tranche as the num­ber of pen­sion­ers in­crease ev­ery year by an av­er­age of 100,000.

Af­ter im­ple­ment­ing the first tranche of the ad­di­tional ben­e­fit in 2017, Dooc said the SSS fund life had dropped from 2042 to 2032.

He said this will be fur­ther re­duced by seven years or until 2026 should the sec­ond tranche of ad­di­tional pen­sion be im­ple­mented in 2019 with­out any in­creased fund­ing.

On the other hand, the SSS last year was able to im­prove its col­lec­tions by 10.6 per­cent to P159 bil­lion from P144 bil­lion the pre­vi­ous year.

“We recorded P159 bil­lion in con­tri­bu­tion col­lec­tion in 2017. This shows that our efforts to col­lect from em­ploy­ers and in­di­vid­ual mem­bers have be­come ef­fec­tive. For 2018, we aim to im­prove col­lec­tion fur­ther by around 18 to 20 per­cent over last year,” Dooc said.

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