OFFICIALS of the Social Security System (SSS) are trying to sabotage the passage of a measure that seeks to increase SSS pension by claiming that the agency lacks funds, House Deputy Minority Leader Neri Colmenares said on Monday.
Colmenares said the statement of SSS officials that it does not have sufficient resources to cover the P2,000 across-the-board pension increase is not true since the agency has P428 billion in investment funds that generate an income of P32 billion per year. Thus, the net revenue of SSS in 2014 reached P44.47 billion and its assets are valued at P500 billion, he added.
“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,” the lawmaker lamented.
Even assuming that the SSS has insufficient funds for a pension hike, Colmenares argued that the agency could easily find ways to increase its fund life.
He recalled that in 2001, the SSS declared that it has a fund life of only five years. However, it was able to extend this until 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 until 2022 or merely seven years,” the lawmaker 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 increase the life of its funds, rather than the lives of its pensioners),” Colmenares said.
The Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises approved a bill increasing the monthly pension of SSS pensioners from P3,000 to P5,000.
SSS president and CEO Emilio de Quiros said the agency does not oppose the pension hike. However, he proposed an increase in the monthly contributions of members to boost the agency’s funds.
But Colmenares said instead of harping on increasing contributions, the SSS should 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 10 years, cut down the bonuses and perks given to its board members and collect the more than P200 million retirement package given to SSS Board Members in 2009 as well as 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.