Anakbayan-Cordillera hits veto of SSS pension hike


BAGUIO CITY — Youth group Anakbayan Cordillera called Benigno Aquino III cruel and cold-hearted for vetoing House Bill No. 5842, a bill that seeks to increase the monthly pension of Social Security System (SSS) pensioners by P2,000.

“I really don’t see the point why such reasonable bill was just easily been rejected without recognizing that such increase in pension will be a great help for the Filipino people specially the poorest of the poor,” said Luke Bagangan, secretary general of Anakbayan Cordillera.

Anakbayan believe that the bill will give immediate relief to many pensioners amid the uncontrollable price increases of basic commodities that the Aquino administration failed to regulate.

Bagangan cited that many senior citizens would have been less burdened in paying for their maintenance medicines if Aquino approved the proposed measure.

“Without an acceptable justification for Aquino’s refusal to sign the bill, this just shows the anti-people nature of the Aquino and his administration. In reality Aquino is insincere in uplifting the lives and welfare of his constituents” added Bagangan.

Quoting from the president’s veto message, Aquino said, “the minimum monthly pension will result to substantial negative income for the SSS…Given this situation, the Social Security System will be constrained to draw from and use its Investment Reserve Fund (IRF) to support the pension increase. Consequently, the IRF will diminish over the years, eventually reaching zero by the year 2029.”

Meanwhile, the group slammed the said justification, saying such doubt has already been tackled in the congress.

“In reality SSS will have more funds if they will just implement reforms in the institution. If it improves its collection efficiency by ensuring that no employer will refuse to remit worker’s contribution and reduce bonuses of its high ranking officials, SSS will have all the necessary funds for the pension hike,” Bagangan explained.

The youth leader also cited the report from Commision on Audit saying that salaries and bonuses worth P116.8 million were paid to high ranking officials of SSS consisting of a president/CEO, two executive presidents, seven senior vice presidents, 16 vice presidents, and eight members of the board of directors.

It is very hard to understand why it is unacceptable for the government to give an additional P2000 to pensioners while each high-ranking officials receive millions from the people’s money. Therefore, Aquino has no right to speak of bankruptcy if it has such amount of money to spare to its officials,” said Bagangan. #


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