The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives on Thursday filed a resolution mandating the distribution of the second tranche of Social Security System (SSS) pension increase effective January 1, 2019.
In House Joint Resolution 22, the bloc said the increase is needed to cushion the impact of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law and to provide social protection to pensioners.
“Whatever benefit the P1,000 pension increase might have provided to the pensioners was already easily wiped out by the higher cost of food and other commodities with the implementation of TRAIN law in January 2018,” the House bloc said.
On January 16, 2017, the lower chamber approved House Joint Resolution 10 to increase the monthly pension of the SSS pensioners by P2,000 under the Social Security Act of 1997 to be given in two tranches: the first tranche amounting to P1,000 to be starting January 2017 and the second tranche amounting to P1,000 to be given to the pensioners in January 2019.
The resolution remains pending in the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises since January 18, 2017.
However, in February 2017, President Duterte approved P2,000 increase in the SSS pension, with the initial P1,000 increase effective retroactively in January 2017, but, the second tranche or the additional P1,000 to be implemented in year 2022 or earlier.
“There is an increasing clamor among the SSS pensioners and their families to immediately implement the second tranche of the pension increase,” it said.
As of October 2017, there are 36 million members of SSS and 2.3 million pensioners.
For his part, Party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate of Bayan Muna said it is “insensitive” for the SSS leadership to claim that it will not release the P1,000 second tranche without a corresponding increase in the members’ contribution.
“Without appropriate and immediate intervention, the SSS will fail in its role to provide basic economic security for the people, curb poverty, provide economic stability, redistribute income and preserve important social and individual values. Delaying the release of the second tranche SSS pension increase will mean further suffering among many SSS pensioners, so the pension increase must be implemented this coming January,” Zarate said.
Besides Bayan Muna, members of the Makabayan bloc include Act Teachers partylist, Anakpawis partylist, Kabataan partylist and Gabriela partylist.