MANILA – Outgoing Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares proposed on Wednesday that the government subsidize the needed amount for the pension hike of the pensioners of the Social Security System (SSS), just like what it is doing in other programs where it is making subsidy.
Colmenares, author of House Bill No. 5842 or the proposed pension increase law vetoed by President Benigno S. Aquino III, said the government should be consistent in terms of providing subsidy to the poor.
He noted that since the government is providing subsidy to the poor through the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and other programs, it is equally important to allocate a portion of government subsidy to bring the pension hike into reality, especially to the sector of the poor SSS pensioners who have been disappointed by the presidential veto for fear of future bankruptcy of the SSS.
“Di ba ganun ang prinsipyo, dagdagan mo? Dahil mahirap ang mga miyembro ng CCT, dadagdagan mo, bibigyan mo sila ng CCT… At least, sa SSS nakalista ang miyembro at may contribution… Tingin ko mali ang gobyerno na ayaw maglaan ng Php4 billion sa SSS para madagdagan ang pension,” he said during an interview with media after the Philippine Star “Kapihan sa Manila” media forum hosted by journalist Marichu Villanueva at Café Adriatico in Malate, Manila.
Colmenares insisted that it could have been better if President Aquino had decided to allocate about Php4 billion to subsidize the cost of the pension hike from the Php3.002-trillion national budget of the government as one of the solutions that they have laid down to make the pension hike possible.
During the forum, Colmenares explained that among the strategies that he enumerated during the deliberations on HB 5842 were SSS contribution collection efficiency, bringing down of expenses, getting subsidy from the government, and improving investments before resorting to an increase in premium contribution.