MANILA – Malacanang on Thursday defended the move of Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III to veto the bill providing a PHP2,000 across-the-board increase in the monthly pension of Social Security System (SSS) members, noting the government is ensuring the stability of the entire SSS system to benefit majority of its members for the next 27 years.
“Ang pangunahing layunin ng pamahalaan ay tiyakin ang katatagan ng pondo ng SSS para tugunan ang pangmatagalang pangangailangan ng lahat ng 31 milyong miyembro nito [The government ensures enough funds in the long run for SSS and all its 31 million members],” said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a Palace press briefing.
Citing Pres. Aquino, Coloma said the SSS pension increase will seriously comprise the stability of the entire SSS benefit system in favor of two million pensioners and their dependents.
He said the pension increase, with a corresponding adjustment of the minimum monthly pension, will result in substantial negative income for the SSS.
The Palace official added that SSS will be constrained to use its Investment Reserve Fund (IRF) to meet a deficit in total payment for pensioners of PHP16 billion to PHP26 billion annually.
With 2.1 million pensioners, the proposed pension increase of PHP2,000 per retiree will result in a total payout of PHP56 billion annually, much higher compared to SSS’s annual investment income of PHP30 billion to PHP40 billion.
“Yung sobrang laki nung epekto nito na hinihigitan pa ‘yung kontribusyon at ‘yung investment income at dahil dito ay iikli ang buhay ng pondo, na sa halip hanggang 2042 ay hanggang 2029 lamang [It would have a huge effect… the funds would last only until 2029 instead of 2042],” explained Coloma.
“Hindi magiging responsable ang pamahalaan kung hahayaang mapariwara o masira ang katatagan ng pondo. Ito na ang magiging sukdulan ng kawalan ng malasakit sa ating mga Boss, ang mamamayang Pilipino, kung hahayaan nating mangyari ito [It would be irresponsible on the part of government if we let SSS lose funds],” he added.
Nonetheless, Coloma assured that the SSS management is studying other benefits it could provide to its members while ensuring the stability of its fund.