SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives passed on third and final reading Monday night a bill increasing the monthly take of pensioners of the Social Security System (SSS) to a maximum of P2,000.
House Bill 6748, which substituted House Bill 4365 as contained in Committee Report 2514, was endorsed for plenary approval by the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization chaired by Rep. Erico Basilio Fabian (2nd District, Zamboanga City). It was approved by the House with 185 affirmative votes and zero negative votes.
Rep. Neri Colmenares (Party-list, Bayan Muna), principal author, lauded the passage of the measure, as this would greatly assist a large number of SSS pensioners who have suffered difficulties due to the continuing escalation of the cost of living in the country.
Colmenares said the measure seeks to increase the minimum monthly pension of SSS pensioners by P500 for those with at least 10 years of service and by P1,000 for those 20 years and above.
"In view of the social justice thrust of our Constitution, this measure seeks to treble the current SSS pension rates until no retiree should receive a less than P7,000 a month thus making it more responsive to the basic necessities of SSS pensioners," Colmenares said.
Colmenares said under Republic Act 8282 otherwise known as the new "Social Security Act," SSS members with at least 10 credited years of service are provided a P1,200 monthly pension, while those with 20 credited years are given P2,400.
He added that those who retired under Republic Act 1161 or the old SSS law are even more hard pressed because their monthly pension is much less.
Colmenares said SSS has the capacity to pay the P2,000 pension increase. In 2011, SSS earned P29.865 billion from its investments alone while in the first quarter of 2012, it earned P14 billion.
"I believe this will not be a problem for the agency because it has the assets and income to pay the pension of 226, 611 pensioners receiving less than P 2,400.00 per month," Colmenares said.
Under the measure, the minimum monthly pension is increased from P1,200 to P1,700 for members with at least 10 credited years and for those with 20 credited years, P3,400 from P2,400.
Three years after the implementation of this Act, the said amounts shall be increased by at least P500 for those with 10 credited years and P1,000 for members with at least 20 credited years.
The SSS is mandated to equitably and proportionately adjust the monthly pension of other entitled members and beneficiaries to preserve the integrity and fairness of the pension program.
Among the co-authors of the bill were Reps. Teddy Casiņo (Party-list, Bayan Muna), Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Party-list, Bagong Henerasyon), Catalina Bagasina (Party-list, ALE), Maria Carmen Zamora (1st District, Compostela Valley), Jesus Crispin Remulla (7th District, Cavite), Giorgidi Aggabao (4th District, Isabela), Salvador Escudero III (1st District, Sorsogon), Emil Ong (2nd District, Northern Samar), Antonio Tinio (Party-list, Act Teachers), Pedro Acharon, Jr. (1st District, South Cotabato and General Santos City), Cesar V. Sarmiento (Lone District, Catanduanes), Rodolfo Fariņas (1st District, Ilocos Norte), Eduardo Gullas (1st District, Cebu), Luzviminda Ilagan (Party-list, Gabriela), Raymond Palatino (Party-list, Kabataan), Sergio Apostol (2nd District, Leyte), Ramon Durano VI (5th District, Cebu), Jerry Treņas (Lone District, Iloilo City), Joaquin Carlos Rahman Nava (Lone District, Guimaras), Mel Senen Sarmiento (1st District, Western Samar), Tomas Osmeņa (2nd District, Cebu City), Roger Mercado (Lone District, Southern Leyte), Janette Garin (1st District, Iloilo), Benhur Salimbangon (4th District, Cebu), Rene Relampagos (1st District, Bohol), Alfredo Maraņon III (2nd District, Negros Occidental), Emmi De Jesus (Party-list, Gabriela), Florencio Miraflores (Lone District, Aklan), Herminia Roman (1st District, Bataan), Edgar San Luis (4th District, Laguna), Edcel Lagman (1st District, Albay), Irvin Alcala (2nd District, Quezon), Loreto Leo Ocampos (2nd District, Misamis Occidental), Victorino Dennis Socrates (2nd District, Palawan), Philip Pichay (1st District, Surigao del Sur), Jeffery Ferrer (4th District, Negros Occidental) and David Kho (Party-list, Senior Citizens).