Press Release
November 6, 2015

Villar: Bill hiking SSS pension by P2,000 passed on Second Reading

Sen. Cynthia Villar welcomed the approval on Second Reading of the bill granting P2,000 across-the-board increase in the retirement pay of 1.9 million Social Security System (SSS) pensioners.

"I am optimistic we will be able to submit this bill for the President's signature before the end of the year," Villar said.

Villar, chair of the Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, and principal sponsor of House Bill No. 5842, said her office has been receiving numerous calls and letters inquiring about this bill and that she is happy to update them on this development.

"Kailangang-kailangan na po ito ng mga kababayan nating retirado. It is a sad reality that majority of our retired workers rely solely on their monthly pension for their upkeep. We must also consider that many of them, given their old age, may even have maintenance medicines and special requirements that add to their daily living expenses," she said.

Last Wednesday, the bill breezed through Second Reading at the Senate with no member interpellating or seeking amendment to the version passed by the House of Representatives.

"We really want to adopt the House version so that there will be no need to convene the bicameral conference committee and fast-track approval of the bill by both houses of Congress," Villar said.

Next week, the bill is expected to be approved on Third Reading through nominal voting.

HB 5842 seeks to amend Section 12 of Republic Act 1161 or the Social Security Act of 1997.The latest amendment to the law was 18 years ago under RA 8282. In 2014, SSS effected a five percent across the board pension increase, which retired members found inadequate given the rising cost of living.

During the committee hearing on the bill, Villar was quick to shoot down the proposal of SSS to increase members' contribution from 11 percent to 15 percent to be able to fund the pension hike up to year 2042.

"SSS has billions of unremitted collections and uncollected premiums. They should at least improve their collection efforts first, before thinking of increasing members' contribution," she said.

Villar also posed the possibility of SSS asking for government subsidy, considering that the proposed pension hike will amount to only P49 billion as opposed to the P62.6 billion budget under the Conditional Cash Transfer program.

"I think our retired workers or pensioners deserve subsidy from the government, in the same way that the recipients of CCT grants do. Kung iyong mga hindi nagtatrabaho ay sina-subsidize natin, dapat din naman siguro na ang mga nagtrabaho at nagserbisyo sa atin ay i-subsidize rin," she said.

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