SSS seeks for firm fund life following hike in retirement pension - BALITANG PINOY

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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

SSS seeks for firm fund life following hike in retirement pension

 MANILA--The Social Security System (SSS) fund leader on Monday said that the new law signed by President Rodrigo Duterte prior to SSS members' pension increase and contribution will be an optimistic situation for the commission, seeked for firmer fund life.

"Hindi kami laban sa pagdagdag ng benepisyo, kailangan lang po kayang tustusan o sagutin ng ating pondo," SSS president Emmanuel Dooc said in a DZMM interview.

"Implementing another P1,000 increase in retirement benefits would be difficult. After the first P1,000 pension hike in 2017, the pension fund's life was reduced by 10 years," he added.

However, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that in order to rationalize the power and duties of the commission, President Duterte has to thrust for a stronger Social Security System (SSS) pension fund by signing into law Republic Act No. 11199.

The new law has strengthened SSS charter and set hike in premium contributions retroactively beginning this year to 12% from 11% of salaries.

The 12 percent rate will be increased by another 1 percentage point every 2 years until year 2025 when it reaches 15 percent.

This only means that starting this year 2019, minimum wage earners who used to contribute 440 pesos a month will now contribute 480 pesos.

Dooc said that before the law implementation, the pension fund was expected to run out of money by 2032. The hike adjustment is expected to extend the fund life to at least until 2038. 

Furthermore, eventhough there was an increase in the members' contribution, Dooc was still challenged to prolong the fund life.

"The increase in contribution rates would not be enough to prolong the pension fund's life to an acceptable level which is 26 to 30 years, or until 2045," he said.

"The agency will try to deliver the promised pension increase before Duterte's term ends in 2022, the pension increase could be implemented in 2020 under the most "optimistic" scenario," he added.

Meanwhile, SSS was looking for solutions by means of 'fund growing'. Dooc said that they have been citing plans through increasing the maximum and minimum salary ceiling for contributions, as well as improving collections. 

"Yan po ang ating nasa isip, na dapat talaga mas mapalakas pa ang pondo," he said.

On the other hand, the sponsor of the bill increasing the SSS pension at the House of Representatives Neri Colmenares said that the newly signed rationalization law was unfair to contributors, by which they have to focus on instead on increasing collection.

"Bakit kayo magse-set ng taun-taong increase in contribution, hindi naman nag-i-increase ang inyong collection rate efficiently taun-taon? It is unfair," Colmenares told CNN Philippines.

He added that premiums from only 15 million members were being collected while there are 36 million SSS members.

"One percent is huge especially if you're going to collect it for one whole year and you're going to increase it one more time next year," he said.

The SSS, however confirmed premiums from only about 16 million of its members are being collected, saying they still need to draft implementing rules of the new law. 

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