IN MY EYES
By EDWARD B. ANTONIO
The Philippine Social Security System (SSS) is a social insurance program for employees in the Philippines. Founded in 1957, the SSS is a government agency that provides retirement and health benefits to all paid up employees in the Philippines. Members of the SSS can also make ‘salary’ or ‘calamity’ loans.
Covered employees are entitled to a package of benefits under the Social Security and Employees’ Compensation (EC) Programs in the event of death, disability, sickness, maternity and old age. Self-employed and voluntary members also get the same benefits as covered employees, except those benefits under the EC program.
Well, these are some of the SSS blogs, fellas.
But how effective really is the SSS in alleviating the life of retirees who are now receiving their pensions?
Are they really pensioners in the real sense?
Lately, pro-P2,000 SSS pension hike congressmen were stamped by adminis-tration allies so they could not lobby for an override house vote against the President’s veto on the SSS pension increase. It was supposed to be the House’s last session before adjourning but it turned out to be a coup d’ etat versus P2,000-SSS increase author Rep. Neri Colmenares and company.
Well, the SSS pension increase of P2,000 is officially dead, fellas, with the adjourn-ment of the 16th Congress.
The president’s veto power killed it, for the moment, giving the millions of SSS pensioners the primary reason for not voting Mar Roxas, President Aquino’s alter-ego presidential candidate.
One SSS pensioner said of the veto: “It’s the veto of death for Mar Roxas.”
“And death of the Aquino administration,” said another.
With the president declaring the SSS would go bankrupt by 2029 if the P2,000 pension increase is granted today, various opinions have cropped out.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate revealed these data to refute PNoy’s decision:
House Bill 5842 authored by Bayan Muna Party List Prep. Neri Colmenares got an overwhelming vote during the final House votation, 211-0
When forwarded to the Senate for deliberation, the bill was approved at a vote of 15-1, with Senator Juan Ponce Enrile voting against it.
The original version of the pension increase was pegged at P7,000 in 2011, then, went down to P5,000 in 2013 and finally to P2,000 last year, which was finally approved by both houses but vetoed by the president!
A total of P325B SSS premiums remain uncollected with only 38-40% collected.
RA 8282 states that the government has the duty to subsidize the SSS but it has not do in its entire existence.
There are 2.1 million SSS pensioners with only an average of P1,200 pension per month or P40 a day which makes the pension almost helpless for a pensioner to live a decent and modest life.
Zarate suggests the following measures for the government to help its SSS pensioners and future SSS pensioners:
More efficient collection of SSS premiums.
Speedy resolution of the more than 100,000 SSS cases.
Reduction of the govern-ment’s Risk Management Fund of P30B which the government allocated to its Public-Private Enterprising scheme wherein the government will shoulder any “risk” incurred by the private sector in their business partnership.
The government must fulfill its promise as stated in RA 8282 by subsidizing its own people first before subsidizing these multi-national cor-porations which the majority of the Filipinos do not benefit from.
The SSS management must lessen its expenditures particularly in the granting of bonuses to its executives amounting to millions while their member pensioners are leaking their wounds with only P40 per day.
The COA must speed up its recommendation to file criminal complaints against the SSS personnel which the COA discovered to have received unjustifiable bonuses if they (these SSS people) refuse to return these overpayments.
A mediaman quipped after the Zarate interview: “This SSS under the present administration is not a social security system for the poor. It should be defined as Sira-Sirang Sosyo!”
Of which Zarate answered: “We will pursue the implementation of the bill once Congress sessions resume. By then, we hope we shall have a more com-passionate President of the Republic.”
Aside from the SSS, Zarate also lamented of the passing of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL Phase 4) granting a salary increase of government employees of P2,000 spread to the next 4 years or an equivalent of P500 per year only!
“Buti pa noong panahon ni GMA,” says one public employee who heard of the very meager increase.
“This government is a very tight-fisted government under PNoy,” says another. “He likes us to work very, very hard but he doesn’t like to compensate us well.”
A teacher who heard she will only receive a P500 increase per year also laments: “Para naman kaming musmos na binibigyan ng Presidente ng kendi o ice cream na pampalubag-loob, samantala sila ay halos 100% ang kanilang salary increase!”
“A P500 increase for a Teacher I’s entry salary of P18,000 is only 2.8% compared to their 100% salary increase. Ano ba naman ito, it’s a position apartheid of the highest degree,” says another.#