Bayan Muna hopes that in contrast to former President Aquino’s veto of pension hike, newly installed President Duterte’ support will generate the needed push to finally make the P2,000 SSS pension hike a law.
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate continued where their party left off after the 16th Congress closed. He refiled on June 30, the first filing day of the 17th Congress, the proposed law calling for a P2,000 ($42.55) across-the-board increase in monthly Social Security System (SSS) pension.
Zarate expressed optimism the proposed hike will be fast-tracked and passed swiftly “so pensioners can finally receive the long-delayed benefit due them.”
When the 16th Congress closed on June 6, more than 130 members of the House of Representatives had signed a resolution to override Aquino’s veto of the SSS pension hike. The resolution needed 192 votes to override the veto.
After refiling the proposed pension hike, Zarate said they are happy and thankful that several other members of the House are now filing the same measure. Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casiño originally filed the measure in 2011, in response to clamor of many senior citizens and SSS pensioners for an increase in pension.
Bayan Muna and later the majority of Philippine Congress maintained that SSS will never go bankrupt if the pension was increased, contrary to what its executives and Aquino said.
In the refiled proposal by Bayan Muna, it reiterated the Congress’ recommendations that it should source more funds by increasing its collection efficiency. The SSS currently has a collection rate of just 35 percent to 38 percent. It should, Bayan Muna said, also cut back on the exorbitant and unjust bonuses of the SSS Board and on unnecessary expenses.
Zarate expressed hopes that in contrast to former President Aquino’s veto of the proposed bill, newly installed President Duterte’ support will generate the needed push to finally make the P2,000 ($42.55) SSS pension hike a law.
Aside from the SSS pension hike proposal, Bayan Muna also filed the Genuine Freedom of Information bill, the Lower Income Tax bill, and the Anti-political Dynasty bill, Rep. Zarate said. It also filed House Resolutions for the immediate resumption of the peace talks between the Government of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the immediate release of political prisoners, a call for a moratorium on coal mining, the investigation of the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project (LLEDP) and the stopping of the privatization of Fabella hospital.