The value of outrage

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EVEN though the real priority—which is to increase, to a sustainable degree, the paltry monthly pensions received by retired SSS contributors—is as yet nowhere near being met, we have to say that we are pleased with what the backlash against President BS Aquino 3rd’s ignorant and insensitive veto of the pension increase bill has produced.

If Aquino’s move had not provoked such a firestorm of protest, it is doubtful that the state of affairs at the SSS and the plight of the social security fund’s beneficiaries would have been brought to light and discussed in detail in public, as they are now. Without such a strong negative response from the media and the public, it is doubtful that the President and his minions, particularly the secretive bunch who runs the SSS, would have felt obliged to face the public and attempt to substantially defend their actions.

And without such an uproar as Aquino’s falling on the wrong side of this particularly sensitive issue has caused, the proponents of increased SSS pensions—which seems to be a large majority of the country, although there are those who are courageous enough to publicly support the President’s decision—would not also be compelled to think about their position more critically, and offer even better arguments in favor of it.

As our columnist Rigoberto Tiglao pointed out earlier this week, a closer look at the chain of events, beginning with the original proposal of the pension increase and ending with Aquino’s last-minute veto of the measure before it automatically lapsed into law, reveals a disturbing lack of foresight and follow-up on the part of nearly everyone involved—both houses of Congress, the SSS itself, and Aquino’s administration. The matter had to reach a critical point, represented by widespread angry protest, before the mechanics of how a pension increase could be carried out on the one hand, and the deep systemic and ethical flaws in the SSS organization on the other began to receive critical attention.


Of course, things should not have had to come to that, and in more well-behaved societies they often do not. But consider the alternatives if public anger had not been provoked: Aquino’s veto would be unchallenged, and the very serious problems of millions of retirees being forced to live in abject poverty while the pension fund, which is made up from their own contributions and could very easily contribute to at least moderately improving their well-being is criminally mismanaged would remain, unnoticed and unaddressed.

On the other hand, if Aquino had signed the law or simply let it lapse into law without his signature, we might eventually face the very real problem of an insolvent pension fund, thanks again to its bad management epitomized by obscene executive compensation packages, and an embarrassingly inefficient collection performance.

Given these alternatives, it must be said that outrage, although generally not considered ideal or preferable, can do some good. Let’s hope it encourages, or if nothing else, frightens, our leaders into doing their jobs more thoughtfully and with more attention to detail.

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5 Comments

  1. A note to President Aquino.. We , SSS retiree will never ever forget what you did to us the 2 million plus retirees. Every time you meet an old Filipino , you must remember the injustice you made. Lest you forget, every wrinkle that you see in the faces of us retirees will remind you how you hurt our feelings and trampled our rights and our dignity.

    • TONY NORONA JR. on

      I am am not a BS Aquino fan, but this time I agree with him vetoing the SSS pension increase. The SSS fund will go bankrupt in the future and the FUTURE RETIREES will get no pension at all. It is called budgeting. IF ANYONE WHO KNOWS BUDGETING, YOU CANNOT SPEND MORE THAN YOU EARN
      .

  2. Outrage: Is a good motivator: !

    –How we treat our poor; aged; sick –Underprivileged…Shows what sort of society we are …

    …While we don’t want to be a “Nanny state”..We certainly as a predominantly Christian country.

    .Want to be a compassionate one !

    Dr David M Meyer ( PhD; Psych}

  3. Aquino veto showed all Pilipinos that we made a mistake in voting Aquino as President. This person in his who life has not crafted any law, a total failure as a lawmaker. We voted for this guy because we share with his lost. He lost his mother Corazon and we voted not by qualification or performance but by our sadness, and emotion. We suffered tremendously ,,, Yolanda, mamasapano, SSS. ,MRT , traffic all over, drive by riding in tandem assassins corruption in PDAP DAP. Is there a solution to these problem. NONE. I did not vote for him but the countless million voters that vote for him, you are part to be blame. Never again will you vote using your emotions. Do not vote for any LIBERAL candidates this coming election. Show them that we are not fools. They cannot fool us anymore. NEVER AGAIN. ENOUGH is ENOUGH.