With only a month left in office, the Tripartite Industrial Peace Council (TIPC) headed by Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz is still hoping that the Social Security System (SSS) will reconsider its hardline position of not allowing an increase in the monthly pension of retired workers.
The TIPC made the call after it finally met and agreed on Wednesday night that the SSS should not completely close its doors on the proposed increase of the SSS pensioners.
The TIPC is a council composed of employers’ organizations, labor groups, and government units, with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) secretary as its head.
The TIPC’s decision was approved by DOLE, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), Federation of Free Workers (FFW), and the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).
According to FFW president Jose Sonny Matula, the TIPC gave no specific amount as to much increase would be given by the SSS to the pensioners.
Matula stressed that what is important is SSS should increase the monthly pension of retired workers.
He said the pension fund’s executives must demonstrate utmost concern on the daily needs of the SSS pensioners, the principal of which is their medicines.
It can be recalled that the proposal to increase the SSS monthly pension by P2,000 as stipulated in a proposed law principally authored by outgoing Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares was turned down by Pres. Benigno Aquino 3rd last January. Aquino said he was convinced that the SSS would get bankrupt once he approved the proposed law.
SSS top brass headed by its president and chief executive officer Emilio de Quiroz likewise stood pat with the proposed increase.
At the moment, SSS pensioners with 20 years of membership receive P2,4000 per month, while those with 10 years of membership receive P1,200.
While he strongly rejected the pension hike, Aquino on March 22 issued Executive Order 203 allowing the SSS executives to get a salary increase of P500,000 each month.
This is on top of the extremely huge benefits and allowances the executives have been receiving.
The SSS employees are excluded from the proposed increase.
Nelson S. Badilla