Aquino brought giant ballpen for SSS pension hike

by KMU Staff

Carrying an effigy of a ballpen, workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno marched to Mendiola to call on Pres. Noynoy Aquino to sign a bill that will raise Social Security System pensions by P2,000 across-the-board.

Saying the pension hike is long overdue, the labor group condemned Presidential Communications Operations Office Usec. Manuel Quezon III for asking the public last Saturday to wait for the chief executive’s action on the bill which was transmitted to the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office last Dec. 15.

“SSS pensioners, workers and Filipinos cannot wait anymore. The SSS pension hike is long overdue, should have been signed before Christmas, and should be signed immediately,” said Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general and himself and SSS pensioner.

The labor leader also condemned Quezon for hinting that a “compromise” on the bill should be made supposedly because the fund life of the SSS would become shorter if the pension hike is approved.

“We condemn the Aquino government for trying to scare SSS pensioners and workers into accepting low pensions. It is trying to hide the fact that all social security systems in the world have limited fund lives,” Soluta added.

He cited the United Kingdom, whose version of the SSS has a fund life of 12 years, and Canada, whose version of the SSS has a fund life of six years – shorter than the 14 years being claimed by the SSS.

“The SSS has funds for the increase. It will have more funds if it improves its collection efficiency, penalizes employers who fail to remit members’ contributions, does away with the huge bonuses of its board members, and reduces its administrative costs,” Soluta stated.

Citing research from Cong. Neri Colmenares’s office, KMU said the SSS has a collection rate of only 38 percent, has filed only 1,200 cases a year against 164,111 delinquent employers as of 2010.

It also said that the SSS has given more than P1 million in bonus to each of its board members in 2012, has given its retiring board members a pension package of more than P200 million in 2009, and has spent more than its counterpart in other countries for administrative costs.

“We oppose any compromise on this issue, whether in the form of a lower pension hike or an increase in members’ premium contributions, like what the SSS leadership wants. The reasons being cited by the SSS and the Aquino government are simply unacceptable,” Soluta stated.