• Higher SSS premiums ‘spoil’ P2K pension hike

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    Proponents of the P2,000 across-the-board Social Security System pension hike have warned the Duterte administration’s economic managers that an increase in SSS premiums as a result of the SSS pension hike would spoil the additional SSS benefit.

    Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate and former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares were referring to the SSS premium increase proposed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and National Economic and Development Authority Director-General Ernesto Pernia.

    The economic managers claimed that without an accompanying premium increase, the proposed pension hike would supposedly unduly jack up unfunded liabilities of the SSS from P3.5 trillion to as much as P5.9 trillion.

    “This is a Grinch-like proposal that spoils the justness of providing the long awaited pension hike of our SSS pensioners,” Zarate, a principal author of House Joint Resolution 10 granting the SSS pension increase beginning January 2017, said in a statement.

    He cited SSS Chairman Amado Valdez telling congressional public hearings on the measure that raising membership premium is the last of their options.

    “This [supposed shortened fund life]is the same scare tactic used by the previous administration. It would be well for the three Cabinet members to stop scaring the people, especially the President, for this phantom adverse effect once the current pension is increased,” Zarate pointed out.

    “The Cabinet secretaries should stop trying to delude the people and President Duterte that it has no funds for the P2,000 pension increase because this is not true. They are tryng to sabotage the distribution of the P2,000 pension increase, even if it has actually admitted several times that it has the funds for the pension increase. At most, the increase will only shorten the SSS fund life to 2025-2029 instead of the current 2042,” Colmenares, another author of the proposal during the 15th and 16th Congress, said.

    Even if the SSS pension hike will shorten SSS’s fund life by 14 years, he argued that 14 years is still enough time for the pension fund to look for other ways to increase its fund life.

    “In 2001, SSS declared that it has a fund life of only five years and yet it was able to increase this to 2042 in just 14 years. If it previously survived a five year fund life, then surely it can also survive a 14 year fund life,” Colmenares said.

    “Instead of harping on increasing contributions, SSS should improve its collection efficiency from the employers of its 31 million members and collect the billions in contributions, which delinquent employers failed to remit in the last ten years, among others,” he added.

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