A bill providing for an across-the-board P2,000 Social Security System (SSS) pension increase can be approved by Congress by December, one of its authors said on Sunday.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate cited the bill’s approval at the committee level in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
“I would say it is possible to have it approved [by both Houses]in December. If the lawmakers really want it approved, this can be approved on second and third reading by Christmas,” Zarate said in an interview over radio dzBB.
“The retirees have been waiting for this for so long. To increase a pensioner’s benefit by P2,000 is just equivalent to a P66 increase per day. What is P66 a day? That won’t even be enough to buy them a healthy and sumptuous meal,” he added.
The P2,000 across-the-board hike for SSS pensioners was vetoed by immediate past president Benigno Aquino 3rd because of supposed lack of SSS funds to back the increase.
Zarate expressed confidence that President Rodrigo Duterte would not break his promise of signing the measure into law.
“This is a campaign promise and we have seen that he is firmly standing up for this. He sees that problem of our senior citizens, which is really their lack of pension fund,” he said.
Under existing law, an SSS pensioner receives P1,200 a month.
“P1,200 is just P44 per day. That is way too small amount. It cannot sustain a life,” Zarate said.