UNFUNDED pension liabilities of the Social Security System (SSS) are currently at P4.3 trillion, somewhat mitigated by the Philippines’ young workforce, a senior legislator said.

Representative Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda, who chairs the House Ways and Means committee, said the panel will explore ways to reduce the gap between its potential pension liabilities and its expected resources.

“The problem doesn’t hurt yet, because we still have a very young workforce who exceed our pensioners. But it’s our duty as lawmakers to solve this now rather than hurt our children in the future,” Mr. Salceda said.

“(I hope) the SSS pension will be similar to that of countries like those in Europe that meet the retirement needs of their workers. At the very least, let’s aim for something like the Singapore model that covers all of the essentials for retirement – housing, healthcare, living expenses.” Mr. Salceda added.

According to SSS Chief Actuary Edgar Cruz, the perpetual unfunded pension liability of the SSS is under constant pressure due to proposals to increase pension benefits.

“Once the SSS contribution increases are implemented, plus the proposed incremental private pension contributions, our payroll tax would be at around 29% (resulting in) subpar benefits. Singapore’s is at 37% but their provident fund covers everything. We need to do so much better,” Mr. Salceda added.

“As a senior citizen, this should no longer my problem. The young will pay for my pension. But as a senior lawmaker, this is my problem. We lawmakers are only worth our salary if we will try to address future problems early,” Mr. Salceda added. — Bianca Angelica D. Añago