By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA — Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares welcomed today the passing of House Bill No. 5842 mandating a P2,000 ($44) Social Security System (SSS) pension increase across-the-board. The House of Representatives approved it a day before it goes on a break.
“If this is finally enacted, those receiving the basic P1,200 ($27) pension per month would receive P3,200 ($71). All the succeeding pension brackets would also have a P2,000 ($44) increase. This is a very positive development,” Colmenares said in a statement. He expressed hope that the Senate would also swiftly pass the bill.
“This would really be welcome news for the 1.9 million pensioners of the SSS,” Colmenares, also senior deputy minority leader, said.
The progressive lawmaker urged pensioners and SSS members to help them in campaigning for the passage of the same bill in the Senate.
Last year, after a House hearing agreed with Colmenares that the pension is indeed too small, the SSS was forced to implement a five-percent across-the-board pension increase.
Although the House-approved pension hike is still way below the P5,000 ($111) minimum pension Colmenares proposed in HB 175, he said the P2,000 ($44) pension hike is “still a good start” to improve the condition of pensioners.
Bayan Muna’s House Bill 175 places the minimum monthly pension for SSS members at P5,000 ($111). The current lowest pension now of the SSS is at P1,200 ($27) per month.
From its yearly reports, SSS usually has more funds that it is investing and disbursing. It has investments in various large companies and, as labor groups said, also in some of President Aquino’s PPPs or public-private partnerships. SSS is profitable, and it is continuing the trend with increasing membership, increasing revenues generated from members’ contributions with hardly a corresponding increase (yet) in annual disbursements.