Resolving the SSS pension hike
A P1,000 increase in pension for retirees of the Social Security System (SSS) is supposed to be released this month, yet there has been no official word so far that President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a bill passed by Congress to implement a P2,000 pension increase.
It is of course expected that militant groups would press the President to sign the bill into law while criticizing any opposition to the measure by quickly laying the blame on big business and their allies in government.
Beyond the ideological militant motherhood rhetoric, they have yet to produce any proposals to cover the SSS’s liabilities which are said to increase to P9 trillion once the increase goes to effect nor any solutions to extend the SSS’s fund life to cover those still working or are set to retire in the near future.
Right now the obvious ways to extend the SSS’s fund life is to increase the contributions of the private sector employees. Or having to require the companies to increase their counterpart contributions of their employees which is something they would rather avoid along with increased taxes.
The win-win solution should have been envisioned sometime before by then president Benigno Aquino III, who in his waning days in office, should have taken a more constructive approach rather than outright rejection of a pension increase.
During his administration, a former SSS official earned public ire for his remarks on the SSS providing benefits to non-SSS members or those who were unable to make contributions for one reason or another.
That official merely spoke of the cold reality facing the status of the SSS which is that it is not unlimited but is dependent on the contributions of its members who are private sector employees.
The SSS itself should have been administered by the private sector but it is handled by the government who could have done a better job of managing the funds by going after errant employers and negligent employees.
Right now, the most viable option for extending the SSS’s life expectancy is to raise the contributions of employees but maybe companies can do their share and chip in a little in order to help their labor force while ensuring that those retirees can enjoy the benefits of an increased pension in the sunset years of their lives.
Maybe the government can extend a compromise and provide incentives like tax cuts to companies that raise counterpart contributions to their employees. There are solutions which should be considered to ease the weight of the burden of sustaining the SSS.
It’s easy to howl and work the crowd into demanding for an increase without finding ways to solve the problem. But there is some movement to providing the increase, and the public should be patient as the government strives to find these solutions.
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