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2224

Palace OKs release of P1,000 additional SSS pension

PENSION HIKE. Anakpawis Partylist leads a protest rally in front of the SSS main office along East Ave. in Quezon City Friday to demand the immediate implementation of a P2,000 pension increase. Photo by Darren Langit

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang approved the release of the P1,000 additional Social Security System (SSS) pension on Wednesday, February 22.

The approval allows the SSS to start giving pensioners the additional P1,000 in March, and for the increase to be incorporated in the regular pension beginning April.

LOOK: Malacañang approves P1k additional SSS pension, retroactive from January 2017. | Image from PH Information Agency @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/ybf4DgZsCz

— Pia Ranada (@piaranada) February 22, 2017

A memorandum signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea stated that the pension hike has been greenlighted and that it will be retroactive starting January 2017.

The letter was addressed to SSS chairman Amado Valdez and SSS president Emmanuel Dooc.

The Palace approval gives the SSS the greenlight to release the amount to "SSS retirees, survivors, and permanently disabled persons."

The schedule of payments of the additional P1,000 is as follows, according to Dooc:

  • January differential of P1,000 – March 3, 2017
  • February differential of P1,000 – March 10, 2017
  • March differential of P1,000 – March 17, 2017

The P1,000-increase will be incorporated in the regular pension starting April 2017, said Dooc.

It comes more than a month after the Palace and SSS officials announced President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval of a P1,000-SSS pension hike.

The hike will mean an increase in contributions of SSS members to 12.5% beginning May, from the current 11%.

Dooc had given assurances in January that funds are sufficient for the hike.

If the implementation of the pension hike leads to "favorable results," another additional P1,000 hike may be approved before 2022, Duterte’s last year in office, said Valdez.

The President’s economic advisers had opposed a P2,000 pension hike proposed in Congress saying it would bankrupt the fund.

During the 2016 campaign period, Duterte promised to approve the SSS pension hike if elected president.

He made the promise around the time former president Benigno Aquino III rejected the hike, citing the same reason Duterte’s economic advisers gave: that the move would lead to a financial crisis for the SSS and would burden taxpayers.

Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon said earlier that the pension hike is "illegal" as it would be funded by the increase in members’ contribution.

Citing Republic Act No. 8282 or the Social Security Law of 1997, Drilon said in January that the law prohibits SSS to recommend increase in benefits that would require an increase in contribution. – Rappler.com