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Senators frown on SSS premium hike

Senators were surprised at the decision of the Social Security System to impose an increase in premiums this May and called on the agency to explain and justify the move to members of the State pension fund.

Sen. Francis Joseph “Chiz” G. Escudero urged officials of the SSS to clearly explain the additional 1.5 percent increase in contributions to its members following President Duterte’s approval of the P1,000 increase in the monthly pension of members.

SSS members will receive a P2,000 increase in their monthly pension in two tranches – P1,000 immediately and R1,000 in 2021.

“They should explain and justify that to the members, backed up by actuarial studies and should also prove that their previous investments and collection efficiency, which is very low, have improved and that the latter two are not enough to support the additional benefit,” said Escudero, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Banks, Financial Institutions, and Currencies.

Sen. Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV said it is necessary that business communities and other labor sectors are informed of the SSS move to increase premiums.

“I also want to hear from SSS officials if this scheme is meant to protect their collections and their ability to continue providing for pensions. I seriously think we should look at the numbers too,” Aquino said.

“I hope the SSS would also listen during consultations with employers and employee organizations. I was surprised myself to suddenly hear of this plan to raise the premiums when that subject was not even broached before,” Aquino added.

Senate President Pro empore Franklin M. Drilon thumbed down the SSS plan to raise monthly contributions. He said that while the Executive branch’s decision to finally grant the long-awaited increase in the pension of SSS retirees is commendable, “it should not be used to justify an increase in the premium payment.” (Hannah L. Torregoza)