• Aquino vetoes SSS pension hike

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    PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd has vetoed a measure that would have granted two million pensioners of the Social Security System a P2,000 across-the-board increase.

    In his veto message contained in a letter dated January 12, 2016 and addressed to Senate President Franklin Drilon and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., the president said he was returning the enrolled House Bill 5842 “without my signature” citing the measure’s “dire financial consequences” that may compromise the entire benefits system.

    “While we recognize the objective of the bill to promote the well-being of the country’s private sector retirees, we cannot support the bill in its present form,” Aquino said.

    The bill was transmitted for the president’s signature on December 15, 2015 with the hope that it would have been a Yuletide gift for the pensioners and their dependents.

    “A P2,000 across-the-board pension increase with a corresponding adjustment of the minimum monthly pension will result in substantial negative income for the Social Security System. More specifically, the proposed pension increase of P2,000 per retiree, multiplied by the present number of more than two (2) million pensioners, will result in a total payout of P56.0 billion annually,” Aquino explained in his letter.

    “Compared against annual investment income of P30 billion – P40 billion, such total payment for pensioners will yield a deficit of P16 billion – P26 billion annually,” he stressed.

    Aquino warned that once passed, the measure will bleed the resources of the SSS, which “will be constrained to draw from and use its Investment Reserve Fund (IRF) to support the pension increase.”

    “Consequently, the IRF will diminish over the years, eventually reaching zero by the year 2029,” the President emphasized.

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    5 Comments

    1. Vicente Mariano on

      Given the limited resources of government paid for by the taxes of mainly the middle class workers and employees, it is sad to find out that so many bills, prepared at so much cost in terms of salaries (which could have been added to the billions of tax money used for the 4Ps) have been vetoed by this President, .

    2. Paasa (Raising false hopes).

      This in a nutshell sums up and aptly describes the effects of President Aquino’s recent veto of the bill proposing a P2,000 across-the-board increase for SSS pensioners.

      The presidential veto has brought to the fore the serious lapse in the liaison and advisory works of both the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) and the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC). For how could such a bill have passed both houses of Congress without the usual Completed Staff Work (CSW) – or whatever term they may wish to call it — that would fairly apprise the President and the members of the legislature as well about the possible impacts – social, political, economic, fiscal, etc. – of key legislative measures under consideration by Congress?

      With such a CSW, the President is given a blow-by-blow account of the actions in Congress and is promptly advised by his subordinates relative to the appropriate decision or course of action to take on certain pending bills and avert, where proper, their being elevated to the portals of Malacañang for final decision by using his innate power of suasion over his allies in Congress. The timely information given the Chief Executive on crucial bills would spare him from being put “on the spot,” so to speak, and effectively shun a situation where members of Congress advocating a bill would earn “pogi points” and gain undeserved political mileage at the expense of an unwary President. That, too, would save Congress hundreds of deliberation hours and, of course, millions of people’s money!

      We thought that the presidential staff learned their lessons well from the 15th Congress (2010-2013) during which period the President vetoed nearly 80 bills submitted to him for signature. Such number of rejections speaks of the kind of coordination and linkage which the executive and the legislature had then. Proposed measures which are unlikely or have a very remote chance of being approved by the President owing to certain foreseeable considerations should, following an extensive research and CSW, be “nipped in the bud” and “dumped outright” at the legislative mill.

      While the SSS bill may be the first bill ever vetoed by the President among those passed by the current 16th Congress (2013-2016), still the recurrence of the old and unpalatable practice by Congress of passing the buck and eventually shifting the burden to the Office of the President at crunch time as well as the oft-laid-back approach and slip-shod treatment by the President’s men of legislative proposals which is akin to a “let’s-just-cross-the-bridge-when-we-get-there” attitude is something to be abhorred and despised.
      That the poor old SSS pensioners were made to believe that the bill would merit nothing less than the approval of their President, it having been given the imprimatur by hundreds of their representatives in Congress, made its rejection all the more painful and difficult to accept by those would-be beneficiaries. The two branches of government should by now have learned their lessons from this sad chapter and should forthwith become more prudent and circumspect in ensuring that what is finally delivered to their constituents are “true and concrete services” and not “paasa lang” or mere “hollow promises.”

      ATTY. ALVIN T. CLARIDADES
      PUP College of Law
      Sta. Mesa, Manila

    3. It seem increasing the pension amount is so easy for the president to compute while when he had signed to increase the members contribution he had no hindrance to signed the additional increase contribution. And further I remember the president also noted that to increase the members contribution is to increase the sss fund so that they can further pay the members needs and pensions.

    4. This will finally end the Mar Roxas Leni Robredo campaign. Most of the liberal party senatoriables will be affected too. Speaker Belmonte, this will be your last term. You will lose in your next run. We remember . By the end of Aqunos term, he will go to jail or veterans with Arroyo next room.

    5. This will be a big mistake of this administration. Your liberal party will dramatically looses in this coming elections.. Nasaan iyong mga perang unliquidated at unspent money?? as previous report by COA???
      ZERO TO ALL LIBERAL PARTY AND TO ALL ALLIES OF THIS THIEF AQUINO GOVERNMENT……. Magaling kalang sa mga kaalyado mo pero pag sa kapakanan ng taong bayan, you dont care…