Aquino eyes higher SSS contributions

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By Catherine S. Valente Reporter

President Benigno Aquino 3rd is considering raising the contribution of members of the Social Security System (SSS).

In his speech after his dialogue with labor groups on Tuesday, President Aquino said since 1980, there had been about 21 across-the-board pension increases but contribution rates have only been increased twice.

“Panahon na rin po para am­yendahan ang SSS Pension Scheme. [It is time to amend the SSS Pension Scheme],” Aquino said

“Hugot tayo nang hugot ng sobra-sobrang pera, subalit wala namang inilalagay sa bulsa.

[It seems that we have kept taking excessive amounts of money and putting it on credit without raising any actual money],” he added. “This will bankrupt us, and that is exactly SSS’s problem: their estimated unfunded liability as of 2011 is at P1.1 trillion.”

“Kapag wala tayong ginawa, inaasahang tataas ito ng walong prosyento kada taon. [If we do nothing now, this is expected to increase by 8 percent every year],” he said.

The solution, he said, is for the public to make a little sacrifice by contributing an additional 0.6 percent that will, in turn, increase their SSS benefits by seven percent.

“Ano ang solusyon? Katiting na sakripisyo. Sa ngayon, 10.4 percent ang contribution rate ng SSS. Iyong ating 10.4 percent, napakababa po nito. International standard sa SSS contribution, 14.1 percent, samantalang ang contribution rate sa gobyerno, 21 percent—doble po ang ikinakaltas kumpara sa pribadong sektor. [The solution? A little sacrifice.

Right now, the SSS contribution rate is 10.4 percent. This is very low. The international standard is at 14.1 percent, and the contribution rate for the government, 21 percent—they deduct double compared to the private sector],” he said.

“Ngayon, kung magdadagdag lamang tayo ng 0.6 percent sa contribution rate, at gagawin itong 11 percent, P141 billion agad ang maibabawas sa unfunded liability ng SSS. [Now, if we just add 0.6% to the contribution rate and increase it to 11%, we can immediately reduce SSS’s unfunded liability by 141 billion pesos],” he added.

On one hand, Mr. Aquino said that as part of the SSS reform agenda, monthly salary credit would be raised from P15,000 to P16,000. In effect, he said, benefits will increase to seven percent.

“Ang epekto nito, 7 percent pag-angat sa benepisyo. Ang mga ganitong reporma sa pamamahala ay ginagawa natin upang mapana­tiling matatag ang ating mga institusyon, at masiguro ang pang­matagalang pakinabang nito sa mamamayan [ This will result in a 7% increase in benefits. We are undertaking governance reforms such as this to fortify our institutions, and to ensure their long-term benefits for our citizens].” he added
Meanwhile, Aquino encouraged all workers to treat Labor Day as a day of celebration instead of bickering.

“Ngayong umaga, mayroon akong hamon sa mga manggagawa at sa mga namumuhunan. [This morning, I have a challenge to all those in labor and management],” he said “Mula ngayon, sana ay ituring natin ang Labor Day bilang Good Job Day [From now on, I am hopeful that we treat Labor Day as Good Job Day].”

“Hindi po ba mas maganda kung, imbes na tratuhin ang Labor Day bilang araw ng alitan, ituring natin ito bilang selebrasyon—isang araw na masayang nagdiriwang ang mga manggagawa at mga negosyante dahil sa matagumpay at produkti­bong taon; isang araw na kinikilala natin ang sipag ng bawat empleyado, at kung gaano kalaking biyaya ang magkaroon ng isang trabahong marangal at bumubuhay sa pamilya mo? [Would it not be better if, instead of treating Labor Day as a day of picket signs and shouting, we treat is as a celebration? A day in which labor and management alike celebrate the successful and productive year that was; a day that recognizes the hard work of each employee and that acknowledges how big a blessing it is to have a dignified job that helps you sustain your family],” he added.

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