SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House committee on government enterprises and privatization will approve by November 15 its report on 16 bills all seeking a P2,000 across-the-board increase in the monthly pension under the Social Security System so the measures can already be tackled in the plenary.
Rep. Jesus N. Sacdalan (1st District, North Cotabato), committee chairman, said they will approve the committee report with or without the presence of SSS officials on Nov. 15. The absence of invited SSS officials during the hearing last Oct. 18 delayed the panel approval of the committee report.
Sacdalan said the committee approved the 16 bills last Sept. 7, after which the panel referred them to the committee on appropriations chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei B. Nograles (1st District, Davao City) for the funding provision of the proposals.
“The proposals then were given back to us after the appropriations committee acted on them. We are done with the committee report and it is only a matter of approving it on Nov. 15,” said Sacdalan.
Rep. Gus S. Tambunting (2nd District, Parañaque City) said there is no justifiable reason to further delay the approval of the committee report especially since the P2,000 SSS pension hike proposal was approved by both the Senate and the House during the 16th Congress. He said the proposal was vetoed by former President Aquino.
“The bill has priority status this 17th Congress. This was thoroughly studied by both the Senate and the House during the 16th Congress. So whether or not the SSS officials will show up on Nov. 15, we need to discuss and vote on the committee report of the pension hike bills so it can already proceed thereafter to the plenary,” said Tambunting.
Tambunting said the authors want to prove to SSS officials that the pension hike can be funded. “First of all, the collection rate of the SSS has not improved, it has remained at 40 percent. The lack of SSS funds is due to the unimproved collection rate of the agency,” said Tambunting.
Secondly, Tambunting said the SSS has many idle assets which, when disposed, can boost the coffers of the SSS.
“The SSS has a lot of idle assets, but the agency has not been selling them. Wala po silang ginagawa duon, di po nila binebenta, di nila pinapagalaw. They should sell these idle assets so the SSS can fund the pension hike,” said Tambunting, chairman of the committee on games and amusements.
The 16 bills seek to amend Section 12 of Republic Act No. 1161, as amended, otherwise known as the "Social Security Act of 1997."
About two million current and future SSS pensioners and their families stand to benefit from the proposal.
The proposed amendment to Section 12 of RA 1161 provides that the minimum monthly pension shall be P3,200 for members with at least 10 credited years of service and P4,400 for those with 20 credited years of service.
At present, the law provides for a minimum monthly pension of P1,200 for members with at least 10 credited years of service and P2,400 for those with 20 credited years of service.
The 16 proposals are House Bill No. 18 by Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon; 71 by Rep. Alfredo Vargas; 208 by Rep. Micaela Violago; 405 by Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa; 414 by Rep. Tobias Tiangco; 475 by Reps. Carlos Zarate, Antonio Tinio, Emmi de Jesus, Castro, Arlene Brosas, Ariel Casilao, and Sarah jane Elago; 481 by Rep. Mark Villar; 1323 by Rep. Johnny Pimentel; 1036 by Angelia Tan, M.D.; 1552 by Harlin Neil Abayon III; 1836 by Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy; 1853 by Rep. Mark Go; 1856 by Rep. Sol Aragones; 1947 by Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto; 2277 by Rep. Gus Tambunting; and 3120 by Rep. Salvio Fortuno.