Youth group calls P500 SSS pension hike an insult to pensioners

Urges Congress to override Aquino veto

Youth group Anakbayan condemned as “an insult” BS Aquino’s offer of a P500 hike in lieu of the P2,000 SSS pension increase bill that the President vetoed Thursday last week.

“Epal at papogi ang P500. Milyon-milyong bonuses ang binibigay para sa SSS officials pero pinapalabas nila na walang pera para sa senior citizens,” asked Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.

Citing computations made by the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research or EILER, he said that SSS’ huge revenues and reserve funds is more than enough to finance the SSS pension increase.

“Hindi lang walang puso ang hacenderong pangulo kundi isang malaking sinungaling,” said Crisostomo who disputed Malacañang’s claim that the P2,000 SSS pension hike will lead to a P16 to 26 billion annual deficit for the agency.

Data from EILER shows that the yearly members’ contributions and income from investments amount to P160 billion, which is more than the P56 billion projected annual payout for SSS pensioners. On top of this are the SSS investment reserve funds which are pegged at P428 billion as of April 2015.

Crisostomo also scored the Aquino administration for trying to divide the public by trying to set the 2.15 million senior citizen pensioners against the rest of active SSS members which Malacañang said will not benefit from the pension hike.

He explained SSS members can avail of benefits for sickness, maternity, disability, death, and funeral. They also become pensioners, thus directly gaining from the hike, when they do retire.

The youth leader also suspected that “yellow politics” may be behind Aquino’s decision. “The main author of the bill is Neri Colmenares, a critic of Aquino’s corrupt politics. Pinupulitika niya ang pension hike,” he said.

In fact, the pension hike poses no real danger to the agency’s fund life spanning up to 2029, he added. It’s longer than those of other countries like the United Kingdom which is only up to 2027 and Canada which is even shorter up to 2022.

Anakbayan is calling on all members of Congress and Senate to override the Aquino veto. The group also called on the public to join pensioners in protesting the veto and reject LP standard bearer Mar Roxas who, the group claims, will continue Aquino’s anti-poor daang matuwid.

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