Casiño to SSS: Increase pension first before talking of hiking premiums
PARTYLIST Rep. Teddy Casiño today hit the Social Security System for planning to increase the premium by 10.4 percent to 11 percent by the end of the year.
Casiño, along with fellow Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, is the primary author of House Bill 4365, which seeks to treble the current SSS pension rates until no retiree should receive no less than P7,000 a month, thus making it more responsive to the basic necessities of SSS pensioners.
The SSS should first increase the pension of retirees before even considering increasing the contributions. There should be no talk of increase unless our bill is passed kasi walang gustong magbayad ng mas malaki for the pittance that the members receive when they retire, added Casiño.
In fact the SSS should refund its members P788.842 million, which according to the Commission on Audit (COA) was overcharged as advanced interest on salary loans in 2011. Ano ba naman ito? Sa halip na ibigay ng SSS ang hinihinging dagdag na pension ng mga miyembro nila, eh ino-overcharge pa pala sila at may inihihirit pang tataasan ang premiums ng mga myembro, said Rep. Neri Colmenares.
As our research would show, the minimum SSS pension that a retiree receives at present is P1,200/month. This is for someone who has worked at least ten years as a member of SSS and is in good standing. Meanwhile, a member of 20 years receives a measly P2,400/month. Ni hindi na ito sapat para mabuhay, considering that you can hardly buy anything for that amount of money in a month. Nakakaawa talaga ang mga pensioners, said the progressive lawmakers.
In our discussions with the SSS, they said that they do not have the funds to unilaterally raise pension benefits, from the P1,200.00/month minimum to the proposed P7,000.00/month. But there are billions (P8.5 Billion in 2010) in uncollected SSS contributions that should provide the ready answer. Imagine how many minimum wage earners would benefit from these billions. Add to that the proposed fines for erring companies (P10,000.00 for every P25,000.00 of unremitted contributions to SSS) and our retirees can have more dignity in living their waning years, said Casiño.