OFFICIALS of the Social Security System must justify the high salaries they get amid calls to increase the retirement benefits of the 33 million members of the state pension fund.
Sen. Richard Gordon made the challenge during a recent public hearing on the proposed measure mandating a P2,000 across-the-board hike in the monthly pension of SSS retirees.
He noted that some SSS officials receive P450,000 a month. “Dapat naman siguro puwede kayong makaisip kung papaano ninyo magagawang efficient ang collection, ma-e-expand ninyo ‘yung market base ninyo, para ang kapalit sa tao mas mataas,” Gordon said.
“We do not mind paying somebody a high salary kung babalik siya na mas mataas ang ibabalik sa tao na pension dahil nag-iisip sila sa Board. Hindi lamang ‘yung ba-boundary lang sila, ngunit gagawa ng paraan para ma-increase ang benepisyo ng tao,” he added.
Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, hopes to sponsor the bill next month. If approved in the plenary it will be tackled in the bicameral conference to reconcile the Senate version of the measure, with its counterpart in the House of Representatives.
If the bill is ratified by the Senate and the House, it will be sent to President Rodrigo Duterte to sign it into law before Christmas. Congress has taken a two-week break to resume on November 7.
On the SSS’ concern that it would have a shorter lifetime if the monthly pension of retirees would be increased, Gordon said that the SSS should become more aggressive in investing SSS funds wisely to increase its resources. “We cannot act on fear. We have to be a more aggressive,” he said.