By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, 2Feb2016 (BicolToday.com) – Another group in the health sector denounced President Aquino for rejecting the proposed law increasing the SSS monthly pension by P2,000.
Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) insisted the Aquino administration suffers from paranoia claiming that SSS will go bankrupt by 2029 should the pension hike push through.
The P10 billion annual deficit (not P16 to P24 billion as earlier claimed by Mr. Aquino) can be remedied by more efficient collections from delinquent employers and borrowers, and reducing operational expenses (like salaries and bonuses of 25 vice presidents).
“Instead of security, the Aquino administration offers social insecurity and has failed to address the needs of Filipinos,” said Dr. Joseph Carabeo, HEAD secretary general, informing Saturday online news BicolToday.com.
The Aquino administration has failed to institute substantial reforms even in his last few months in office. It would not be a surprise if he vetoes yet another pro-people piece of legislation.
Meanwhile, incentives rain down for government executives, huge business owners and foreign investors.
According to HEAD, in 2014 alone, more than P400 million went to bonuses for SSS executives and top employees, with SSS Executive Vice President Rizaldy T. Capulong receiving almost P5 million.
SSS has over P400 billion worth of reserve funds through investments along with a P46 billion income in the same year.
HEAD said the bankruptcy scare has also become a tactic to divide public opinion. The SSS Act of 1997 provides a sovereign guarantee that the government must provide funds should there be a deficit.
The government can allocate P64 billion for Conditional Cash Transfer and hundreds of billions for discretionary funds like intelligence funds, presidential social funds and other pork-ridden allocations.
Thus, it should be easy for the government to allocate P10 billion for the pension fund of retired workers who during their prime contributed to the economy despite their meager income.
The pension hike is not a dole out but a delayed compensation for the pensioners’ services to the country.
Around 2.1 million retirees will benefit from the pension hike if it is passed. As of date, the minimum amount that a retiree receives from SSS is P1,200 monthly.
The P2000 increase, albeit small, would be of help to aging and ailing beneficiaries. This would help support their daily needs, including medicines and health treatment.
Defending himself, Aquino dismissed the retirees’ pleas by insisting that other government bodies, such as the DOH and PhilHealth, exist to take care of our senior citizens’ health.
“We belie these claims because the services they speak of are nothing but dreams and are apparently in limbo,” HEAD said. [BicolToday.com]