The House of Representatives is likely to approve the P2,000 across-the-board Social Security System (SSS) pension hike before Congress takes its Christmas break.
House Majority Floor Leader Rudy Fariñas said that administration lawmakers from the super majority bloc are in favor of the measure which was vetoed by former President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
“There will be a P1,000 increase [for SSS pensioners]and then three years after in 2019, [there will be]another P1,000 (increase),” Fariñas said in an interview.
The lawmaker disclosed that a consensus was reached during a caucus among members of the super majority bloc on Wednesday night.
“The caucus went well. If that is any indication, then it [the SSS pension hike in two tranches]is the one which we will pass on the floor,” Fariñas said.
“The Speaker and Senate President will have to talk,” he added, referring to Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd.
The House Government Enterprises panel approved the P2,000 across-the-board pension hike for SSS retirees on November 15.
SSS Chairman Amado Valdez supported the measure.
“The consensus is that we grant the P1,000 increase next year, then another P1,000 will be added after a few years, in 2020. In doing so, we will have the chance to address our different problems and give us time to adjust [with the increases],” Valdez told the House panel.
Valdez shared the concerns raised by former Bayan Muna Rep. and National Union of People’s Lawyers Chairperson Neri Colmenares about the SSS’ failure to efficiently collect contributions from employers.
Colmenares said the SSS has only been able to collect contributions from 11.8 million out of 33 million members. It filed 1,227 cases against delinquent SSS employers that only cover P460 million as of 2013, a far cry from the P8.5 billion premiums that the SSS failed to collect from 174,000 since 2010.
“We have to balance hope [of our pensioners]and fear [of the paying members], that’s why we agree with the observations of former Congressman Colmenares that we have to address where should we get our fund [for the pension increase and improving our assets],” Valdez pointed out. Llanesca T. Panti