Lawmaker sees snag in SSS pension, contribution hike

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 12 2017 12:26 AM

MANILA - Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said he wants to see the fine print of the order to increase SSS pensions and contributions.

He said he wants to check if the President Duterte's order violates the SSS Charter's prohibition against funding benefits increase from a hike in contributions.

"Gusto rin nating makita 'yung fine print ng resolution. Malinaw naman talaga sa Charter ng SSS, nakasaad sa Section 2, Section 4 ng SSS Act of 1997 na pag mayroong pagtaas sa benepisyo ng pensioners ay 'di kukunin sa kasabay na pagtaas ng premium," Zarate explained.

(We want to see the fine print of the resolution. It is clear in the SSS Charter that if there is an increase in the benefits of the pensioners, this cannot be funded by an increase in premium.)

Zarate said the SSS should shore up its investment reserve fund by reforming the system to make collections more efficient and expanding its membership base. 

He also noted that contributions for only 15 million of the 34 million SSS members are effectively collected.

The lawmaker said that while he welcomes the pension hike, the need for reforms remains, adding that the SSS should look at disposing nonperforming assets, lowering administrative costs and going after delinquent employers.

Zarate added that only after these reforms are done should contributions be hiked.

The progressive party-list representative said their bloc is open to all legal options, such as elevating the matter to the Supreme Court if they really find that the pension and contribution hikes are in conflict with the SSS Charter.