BAGUIO CITY – The pension of Social Security System retirees needs to be raised, to be able to ease the plight of the elderly, especially those undergoing hospitalization and taking maintenance medication.
This was pointed out by former Baguio Representative Bernardo Vergara during an interview over the weekend, where he said that Republic Act No. 8282 or the Social Security Act of 1997 was created to specifically protect private sector employees against the hazards of disability, sickness, old age, death and other contingencies resulting from the loss on income or financial burden.
“It is already too late if Congress is still planning to override President Benigno Aquino III’s veto of the bill mandating a P2,000 increase in monthly pension for retired Social Security System members. House of Representatives Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is instead pushing to increase the monthly pension of retired members by P1,000, which he called a compromise number. Senate President Franklin Drilon, for his part, says any override would need to start at the House because that is where the proposed bill originated in the first place,” Vergara explained.
He said that under Section 27, Article 6 of the Constitution and under the rules of the Senate, the override must be initiated by the chamber where the bill originated.
“The SSS pension bill originated from the House of Representatives and, therefore, the initiative to override the bill, which requires two-thirds votes, must come from the House. On the basis of the present number of the House, I would estimate that will be about 190,” Vergara continued.
But, on the other hand, he also explained that Belmonte is also pushing for the passage of a measure expanding the pension fund’s power to increase its members’ premium contributions.
“We would study the matter, when given the chance, and find a way to come up with a win-win situation. There should be a way to increase the pension of our retirees without resulting to the financial failure of the SSS,” Vergara pointed out.
It may be recalled that Aquino vetoed House Bill 5842 or “An act mandating a P 2,000 across-the-board increase in the monthly pension with corresponding adjustment of the minimum monthly pension under the Social Security System, amending for the purpose Section 12 of Republic Act No. 1661, as amended, otherwise known as ‘SSS act of 1997’” citing financial consequences.
Aquino said the pension hike for over 2 million pensioners may result to substantial negative income for the SSS as it may only resort to using its Investment Reserve Fund (IRF) to support the pension hike. He said the IRF may diminish over the years and reached zero by 2029. By Press Release