Duterte seeks “win-win”solution to raise SSS members’ pension
President Rodrigo Duterte is trying to find a "win-win" solution amid a joint congressional resolution to increase by P2,000 the monthly pension of members of the Social Security System (SSS), Malacanang said on Monday.
In a statement, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the proposed P2,000 SSS pension hike is being studied by the president upon the recommendation of his economic managers.
"The president is looking for a win-win solution where he can give pensioners the increase they have been asking for while ensuring that SSS will remain solvent at all times," he said.
"As the president said, he does not want to use taxpayers’ money, especially money of non-SSS members, should funding problem arises because of the increase."
He said Duterte will meet with his economic managers to solve the impasse.
Duterte's economic managers earlier warned that the SSS might go bankrupt if the President would sign into law the joint resolution of Congress on the P2,000 across-the-board additional benefits for the pensioners without raising by as much as 17 percent the contribution of the estimated 33 million members.
The economic team, including Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, and National Economic and Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia, sent a memorandum to Duterte regarding the matter.
The "upward adjustment or restructuring of the contribution rate" aims to prevent bankruptcy of the pension fund, the officials said, citing that the proposed hike in pension of some 2.2 million retirees would unduly jack up the unfunded liabilities of the SSS from P3.5 trillion to P5.9 trillion, the memorandum said.
Under the proposed joint resolution of the Senate and the House of Representatives, SSS would implement a staggered P2,000 across-the-board increase in its monthly payments to member-pensioners - the first tranche of P1,000 to be given starting in January 2017 and another P1,000 in January 2019.
Without a corresponding increase in members' contribution, the three secretaries said the congressional proposal would cut the actuarial life of the pension fund by 14 to 17 years from 2042 to 2025-2028 because the SSS will have to cough up an additional P32 billion annually to cover the initial P1,000 hike and P62 billion for the entire P2,000 increase in monthly payments.
Duterte has promised to give the public of the "honest explanation" by this month regarding the issue. Celerina Monte/ DMS