Bayan Muna party-list Representative Neri Colmenares warned the public on Monday not to fall for claims of SSS officials that the state-run social insurance program for non-government employees doesn’t have enough resources for the P2,000 across-the-board pension increase, disclosing that the SSS has P428 billion in investment fund that generates an investment income of an average of P32 billion per year.
The Senior Deputy Minority Leader said the net revenue of SSS in 2014 reached P44.47 billion and its assets are valued at P500 billion.
“The SSS Board is trying to sabotage the passage of the P2,000 pension increase, even if it has actually admitted several times that it has the funds for the pension increase. The increase will only shorten its fund life to 2029 instead of the current 2042. SSS should stop trying to delude the people and the Senate that it has no funds for the P2,000 pension increase because this is not true,” Colmenares, the principal author of the measure in the House, said.
“SSS is so obsessed with its funds that it has failed to see that it has completely abandoned its mandate to provide genuine social security to the people,” he added.
And even on the assumption that SSS has not enough for a pension hike, Colmenares argued that it could easily find ways to increase its fund life.
He cited that back in 2001, SSS declared it has a fund life of only five years but 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. We are [even]in a better shape than the United Kingdom (UK) which has a fund life of only up to 2027 and Canada which has a fund life of 2022 or merely seven years,” Colmenares pointed out.
“Ayaw lang talaga dagdagan ng SSS ang pension ng mga pensioners kaya ganun na lang ang kanyang pag oppose dito. Mas gusto pa ng SSS na pahabain ang buhay ng pondo niya, kesa buhay ng mga miyembro niya (The SSS simply does not want to increase the pension of its pensioners. They prefer to hike its funds, rather than the lives of its pensioners,” he said.
Instead of harping on increasing contributions, Colmenares urged the SSS to improve its collection efficiency from the employers of its 29 million members; collect the billions in contributions which delinquent employers failed to remit in the last ten years; cut down the bonuses and perks given to its Board members; collect more than the P200-million retirement package given to SSS Board Members in 2009 and collect the fines imposed by the courts against employers who violated the SSS law.
“If this is not enough, then Congress can always provide for subsidies as provided under Section 20 of RA 8282 as amended. There is no way that the SSS will go bankrupt, as the SSS wants people to believe. In fact, under Section 21 the Philippine government guarantees the benefits and solvency of SSS,” Colmenares said.