DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said he would grant the P2,000 increase in the pension of retired Social Security System (SSS) members after President Aquino vetoed last January the bill that would have increased it.
“Yes, I will give the P2,000 to the pensioners,” Duterte said during a press conference held Tuesday night at the Malacañang of the South at the Department of Public Works and Highways equipment depot here in Barangay Panacan.
Duterte said he does not need congressional action to give the proposed P2,000 increase in the monthly pension of SSS retirees.
He pointed out that pensioners, aside from providing for their sustenance, have to grapple with the high cost of medicine for their ailments, including hypertension and diabetes.
The P2,000 a month increase, Duterte said, is a big help for the pensioners.
Besides, he said the retirees have worked hard for their monthly contributions and in the end they will not enjoy their pensions.
Last January, Aquino informed Congress, through the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives that he has vetoed the enrolled House Bill No. 5842, which provides for a P2,000 across-the-board increase in the monthly pension of SSS pensioners and adjustment of the minimum monthly pension from P1,200 to P3,200 for members who have contributed the equivalent of 10 credited years of service (CYS), and from P2,400 to P4,000, for those with at least 20 CYS.
Aquino explained that the passage of the bill would force the SSS to use the Investment Reserve Fund to fund the pension increase, which in turn will result in the IRF reaching zero by 2029.
Duterte also warned both the SSS and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) against making pensioners wait for a long time to process their claims following numerous complaints that reached him.
He said both the SSS and the GSIS should shape up and make sure that their members are better served.
Meanwhile, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P2.6 billion to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), including P1.2 billion for the pension of senior citizens.