SENATOR Franklin Drilon said the planned 1.5 percent increase in the monthly contribution of current SSS members starting May 2017 will violate the law since it is not allowed to raise the premium rates so it can increase benefits.
Sen. Richard Gordon, on the other hand, hailed the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to approve the P2,000 increase in the monthly pension of retired SSS members in two tranches.
The 2.18 million SSS pensioners are expected to receive their P1,000 increase while the second tranche of P1,000 will be available sometime either 2019 or 2022 depending on the financial status of SSS.
Senators Bam Aquino and Chiz Escudero also expressed some reservations over the reported increase, starting May this year, of the monthly contribution of the present SSS members to ensure the SSS will not go bankrupt.
Drilon rejected the plan to raise the rate of monthly contribution of SSS members to finance the Duterte administration’s decision to increase the benefits of its roughly two million pensioners.
“While the Executive’s decision to finally grant the long-awaited increase in the pension of SSS retirees is commendable, it should not be used to justify an increase in the premium payment,” he said
Drilon said Republic Act No. 8282 prohibits SSS to recommend increase in benefits that would require an increase in contribution.
Escudero said that SSS officials “should explain and justify that to the members, backed up by actuarial studies, the need to increase the monthly contribution.”
“They should also prove that their previous investments and collection efficiency, which is very low, have improved and that the latter two are not enough to support the additional benefit,” said Escudero.
“The increase in benefits of our pensioners must not come from a similar increase in the burden shouldered by current SSS contributors. The law is crystal clear in that regard,” said Drilon.
Aquino believes that the private sector was caught by surprise by the SSS’ decision to increase their contribution. “Nagulat rin kami na mayroon palang increase in premiums na ipapataw.”
“Pero, I think nagulat pati na rin ang business community. Iyong mga employer nagulat sa pagtaas ng premium na 1.5 percent,” he said.
“Aminado naman tayo na maliit lang ang 1.5 percent pero ’pag sinuma mo iyon, malaking bagay pa rin iyan. I think nagsabi ang SSS na ngayon pa lang sila magko-consult sa employers at magko-contribute dito,” he said.
Aquino added: “Palagay ko kasi, ang kailangang gawin diyan, itaas ang efficiency ng pagkolekta ng kontribusyon, hindi iyong pagtaas ng premium ng mga miyembro.”
Sen. Sonny Angara supports the increase in the monthly premium of SSS members. “Tama lang ’yon kasi kung walang dagdag mauubos ang pondo at kawawa ang mga bata ngayon. Pag-retire nila wala ng reserves ang pension. Sayang lang ang ni-remit nila kapag ’di iyon ginawa.”