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‘Malasakit’ act hailed

  • Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 207

LEYTE Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez yesterday lauded the House Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization for approving the committee report seeking a P2,000-increase in the pension of 2.15 million Social Security System (SSS) pensioners.

“This is a good gift to our elderly and we hope that Congress will rally to its passage until it reaches the President’s table for his signature to make this measure a law,” Romualdez said in an interview after seconding the motion endorsing the committee report for plenary deliberations.

“This would show ‘malasakit’ (compassion) and extend economic relief to retired private workers who are in their sunset years. The increase in their monthly pension is a good act of Congress to champion their plight,” said Romualdez, wife of former House Independent Bloc Leader Martin Romualdez of Leyte who had been steadfast in supporting the passage of the measure during the 16th Congress.

House Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu welcomed the passage of the proposal as a show of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s commitment to help the pensioners.
   
“This is a very worthy proposal that would show Congress’ sincere desire to serve people’s interests. It is feasible, necessary and urgent. The current pension benefit was not adjusted enough to meet the current cost of living standards. (It’s) a major step towards sharing the inclusive growth to the elderly.         I hope the Senate will also expedite the passage of the measure aimed at easing the plight of our SSS pensioners,” Abu said.
   
North Cotabato Rep. Rep. Jesus N. Sacdalan, who chairs the committee on government enterprises, said they were able to talk to SSS officials during an executive session about finding a way to ensure its financial viability like investing in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects.
   
Last September 7, the committee approved 16 bills all seeking to provide a P2,000 across-the-board increase in the monthly pension of the SSS with a corresponding adjustment of the minimum monthly pension.
   
The panel approved the bills which seek to amend Section 12 of Republic Act (RA) No. 1161, as amended, otherwise known as the “Social Security Act of 1997.”
   
About two million current and future SSS pensioners and their families stand to benefit from the proposal.
   
The proposed amendment to Section 12 of RA No. 1161 provides that the minimum monthly pension shall be P3,200 for members with at least 10 credited years of service and P4,400 for those with 20 credited years of service.
   
At present, the law provides for a minimum monthly pension of P1,200 for members with at least 10 credited years of service and P2,400 for those with 20 credited years of service.
   
The committee members agreed to adopt the committee report of the 16th Congress, which consolidated various proposals on the P2,000 across-the-board SSS monthly pension to help fast-track enactment of the pension proposal this 17th Congress.
   
The House and the Senate approved the proposal during the 16th Congress but this was vetoed by former President Aquino.