THE SOCIAL Security System (SSS) wants to postpone the implementation of the second tranche of the P2,000 pension increase until such time that the state-run pension fund can effect a contribution hike on its own as it seeks to boost profits this year.
President and CEO Emmanuel F. Dooc said the SSS seeks to match revenues from contributions with its benefit payouts this year and rely on portfolio investments for its income.
Mr. Dooc said he expects to disburse about P191 billion to members this year or an average monthly expenditure of about P16 billion.
“So roughly P16 billion a month ang kailangan kong i-raise, which is a very tall order. And I have not included income from investments,” Mr. Dooc told reporters in a May 9 interview.
“So this year hopefully we can generate a minimum anywhere from P30 billion to P40 billion in investment income,” he added, noting as well that his agency was only able to generate a net profit of P20.3 billion in end-2017, down 36.56% from last year.
But on the matter of implementing a second tranche of the pension increase during the midterm elections next year, which would cost an additional P2.5 billion a month, Mr. Dooc said, “Let’s be practical here, next year is an election year. Do you think that they won’t pressure us (on) that, oh pangpabango ito sa amin (this will make us smell good).”
President Rodrigo R. Duterte granted the first P1,000 benefit hike to SSS members soon after he was elected President. SSS pensions were a leading election issue at the time.
“I hope there won’t be an increase next year, and then I can collect for the next 12 months, hahaba yung fund life ko then you increase in contribution, I can cover the requirement for the additional benefit,” Mr. Dooc said.
“If I could delay the release of the second tranche, let’s say 2020, ang commitment naman ni President, dadagdagan ang benefit (the Presiden’t commitment anyway is to increase the benefit) during his term until 2022,” he added.
Mr. Dooc said he hopes Congress would be able to amend the SSS charter when it resumes session this week.
“If ever before…the 17th Congress…adjourns, if it is approved and brought to the bicam[eral conference committee] for example, June, I have a chance (to meet our targets),” Mr. Dooc said.
The House of Representatives has approved on final reading House Bill 2158 which amends Republic Act 1161 or the Social Security Act, granting the SSS the authority to raise the contribution rate and minimum salary credit without an Executive Order. The counterpart Senate Bill No. 1198 remains pending.
Mr. Dooc said he is looking at raising the 11% contribution rate shared by employers and employees which can generate P17 billion to P35 billion in three months. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan