A labor nongovernment organization (NGO) condemned on Thursday President Aquino’s veto of the bill seeking to increase the pension of SSS members, saying the state pension fund has enough financial resources to shoulder the pension hike cost.
Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Inc. (EILER) disputed Malacanang’s claim that the SSS pension hike will result in a deficit of P16 billion to P26 billion annually as it cited SSS huge revenues and reserve funds.
“Malacanang did the wrong computation to make it appear that the cost of the SSS pension hike outweighs SSS income from investments. If we include total contributions aside from income from investments, it will be clear that SSS has more than enough funds to finance the pension increase,” EILER research coordinator Carlos Maningat said.
Maningat said SSS total revenues, which are from members’ contributions and income from investments, amount to P160 billion annually on average. This sum is way bigger than the projected annual payout of P56 billion for SSS pensioners. Aside from its annual revenues, SSS has also over P428 billion in investment reserve funds as of April 2015 which is being invested in equities, bank deposits, securities and real estate.
“With billions in investment reserve funds, increasing income from investments, and growing contributions from a widening member base, SSS is definitely poised to extend its fund life. There is no way that the state pension fund will go bankrupt just because of the pension hike,” Maningat said.
Based on EILER’s study on social protection, it is clear that contribution collections continued to outpace benefit payments, yielding a contribution surplus of P11.6 billion in 2013, 16 times higher than the surplus posted in 2012 and five times more than the surplus earned in 2010.
The labor NGO explained that the government has no counterpart or subsidy in the pension fund, adding that SSS is mainly financed by workers’ contributions.
“The long-awaited pension hike had to go through the whole legislation process only to be vetoed by the President, while SSS executives award themselves humongous bonuses and put our workers’ hard-earned money to risky investments.”
“We urge the members of both House and the Senate to stand with the workers and override the President’s veto of the SSS pension hike bill,” Maningat concluded.