Bill increasing SSS pension passed on 2nd reading

COMMITTEE Report 2514 containing House Bill 4365 increasing SSS pension to a maximum of P2,000.00 per month was passed by the House of Representatives on second reading right after the explanation of votes for the RH bill terminated and it is a matter of time before it will be approved on third reading.

“It has been a long wait since we filed the bill early 2011. The House approval of the bill on second reading is a very timely Christmas gift to our senior citizens” said Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares one of the main authors of the bill.

“There are four pending bills in the Senate mandating similar increases in SSS pension. We urge the Senate to approve the counterpart SSS pension bill so that the law can immediately be implemented next year.”

Rep. Colmenares also revealed a plan for the passage of an inflation indexed pension scheme next Congress. “We were aiming for a higher increase in pension but an increase of two thousand pesos a month is more than enough for now. We will go for a higher pension increase next Congress. The new bill however will have an inflation based formula which means that pensions could increase if the inflation rate increases” said Colmenares.

“This formula, adapted by countries like Canada, has two components: one depending on the amount of premium paid over the years and the other, for automatically increases in pension if inflation rate increases. This way, our senior citizens will not have to beg the SSS for an increase in pension every time prices go up. There is also no need to pass a law each time an increase is required.”

Rep. Colmenares said that SSS has the capacity to pay the P2,000 pension increase.“SSS earned Php 29.865 Billion from its investments alone in 2011. It earned Php 14 Billion in the first quarter of 2012, so it has the assets and income to pay the pension of 226, 611 pensioners receiving less than Php 2,400.00 per month,” Rep. Colmenares declared.

“Additionally, it has a collectible amount of Php 8.515 Billion in 2011 which more than 174,985 employers from all over the country unlawfully failed to remit to the SSS. Considering that SSS paid two of its Board Members in 2010 a total of Php 127 Million in bonuses, it is certainly in no position to claim that it cannot afford a pension increase.”

“The other SSS bill that is up for second reading is HB 4409 which increases the penalty to 8 years imprisonment of employers who fail to remit their employees contribution. We hope this will pass second reading when Congress resumes session in January to further strengthen SSS capacity to collect” said Colmenares.

“Now, our main focus is on the pending Senate bills which will serve as the counterpart SSS pension bill. With the vote on the RH bill over, we hope the Senate can also devote time on this much needed legislation,” he ended.

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