Pension hike, Congress’ Xmas gift to SSS retirees

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Pension hike, Congress’ Xmas gift to SSS retirees

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Starting January SSS retirees will be receiving increased pensions upon the joint resolution to be passed this week by the House of Representatives and the Senate before going on a month-long Christmas vacation this weekend.

Third District Rep. Arthur Yap brought the good news yesterday, saying the joint resolution to be passed will will serve as legal mandate for the Social Security System (SSS) to implement the lobbied P2,000 increase on the monthly pensions of SSS pensioners.

It will be implemented in staggered scheme wherein the P1,000 monthly pension increase will start this month and the other P1,000 will start in 2019.        

Congress had actually approved a bill granting the P2,000 increase on SSS pensions, but then president Benigno Aquino lll vetoed it in January this year.

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Since the new Congress started session after the May elections, Yap had been tracking down on other measures to pursue the SSS pension increase.

In fact, Yap was the lone Bohol representative to stand for the increase of SSS pension and continued to hang on for positive development on the issue.

During the preceding Congress, Yap joined the congressmen who signed the House Resolution providing for an override to former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s veto on then House Bill 5842 proposing a P2,000 increase of the monthly pension of retired SSS members.

It was then Representative Neri Javier Colmenares, who was the senior deputy minority leader of the House of Representative, who initiated the overrive move.

Yap had also pushed for another measure that would provide for automatic adjustment of retirees’ basic monthly pensions.

In the previous Congress, Yap filed House Bill 4940 aimed at ensuring “that retirees will be able to sustain their needs and live a decent life in the twilight stage of their lives”. He had refiled the bill before the current Congress.

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The Bill sought to provide for the automatic adjustment of the basic monthly pensions of retirees both covered by SSS and the GSIS based on the prevailing cost of living index as determined by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

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Yap pointed out that the regular premiums that workers contribute during their period of employment and with counterpart share from their respective employers entitle them to benefits as members under the system as to specific pension plans at the time of their retirement.

“Varying amounts of pension are then given to pensioners on a monthly basis depending on the total amount of their contributions. While existing laws allow for adjustments to be made on the basic monthly pensions, experience has shown that such adjustments often lag behind the much faster increases in the rate of inflation resulting to the erosion of the real values of the pensions received by the retirees,” Yap explained.

This situation, if unabated will defeat the very purpose of the security system as well as of the policies and objectives of the law, Yap stated in the explanatory note of the Bill.

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He said a good retirement and pension plan has been regarded as “wise investment” in preparation for one’s twilight years.

“Every worker has to think of his security when the time comes that he has to retire from work, whether compulsorily or voluntarily. It is a future contingent event that a worker or employee has to consider and plan for at the earliest possible time,” according to Yap.

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