The SSS pension hike controversy

 

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile

Senator Juan Ponce Enrile

I thought Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, in his dotage, is losing his mind, too.

It appears, however, that Enrile’s mental faculties are still intact compared to his peers in the Senate who all voted for the proposed P2,000 pension hike of 2.1 million retirees (myself included) of the Social Security System (SSS), this after the House of Representatives approved it earlier.

More than the good intentions they had in their hearts, most of the politicians, especially those running for national office in the 2016 presidential election, however, nurtured selfish and ill motive in supporting the passage of the across-the-board pension hike at the expense of the 29 million members and the more retirees joining every year.

Selfish in that the politicians want to make the SSS pension hike as one important vehicle from where they could be catapulted to victory, and ill because the same vehicle will be used by the same unscrupulous politicians to lambast President Aquino, who vetoed the bill, making sure that his Liberal Party slate gets badly beaten in the election without thinking about the bitter financial woes it would bring to most retirees 10 or 11 years from now.

“…While we are going to favor present beneficiaries, the cost of this generous grant of across- the-board benefit or additional to their benefits , in the end, it (SSS) will be bankrupted because this is a contributor system and not a social security system guaranteed or funded by the national government,” Enrile said.

“Now, I understand that the argument given is, we’ll let Congress or the state provide the money at that point. That’s a poor statement, poor argument, Mr. President. We’re leaving the future generation of Filipinos to suffer just because we want votes at this time especially during an election year. Thank you,” he added arguing his negative vote in the Senate.

Enrile’s position was confirmed by former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Solita “Winnie” Monsod in her computation, saying, “… there was no way the SSS could afford the additional P56 billion per year to be spent on the pension hike. The SSS investments yielded only P40 billion every year and that the SSS was already using much of its premium contributions for member benefits.”

That Aquino, Enrile and the others are voicing the anti-pension hike instead of appearing likable during election year only shows their selfless attitude and utmost concern for the welfare of the existing members and the many more joining year, after year, after year.

In my case, how I wish the P2000 increase was approved to be able to add up to the meager SSS pension I am getting, but I don’t want to go thinking that sometime in the future my kids will suffer more for my being part of a system that allowed corrupt politicians to have their way.

I hope the public will understand this and will make the 2016 election instead the right time to repudiate all conspiring, devious and self-indulgent politicians who in reality do not care about pensions or who gets short-changed because they already have stashed or are in the position now to stash more of their stolen wealth to provide them and their families a secured future, even for generations to come.

(Note: This article does not mean I am absolving Sen. Enrile from his PDAF arrest and detention. He is just as corrupt as the others, but at least his conscience showed honesty and justice with regard to the SSS pension hike issue. – Quierosaber)

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