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Biyernes, Enero 3, 2014

Labor group wants SSS increase suspended indefinitely

Press Release
03 January 2014

Contact person:
Gie Relova
Calls for an investigation and transparency of investments
Labor group wants SSS increase suspended indefinitely

A militant labor group demanded that the .6% employee premium increase of the Social Security System (SSS) which took effect on the first day of the year be suspended indefinitely. The group claimed that the increases are totally unjustified and grossly detrimental to the interests of the members of the state pension fund.

Two days before the end of the year, the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) warned the public that the Aquino government shall punish his “bosses” with more wage deductions such as the SSS and PhilhHealth contribution increases and a wide array of price hikes of basic commodities in welcoming the New Year.

The BMP argued that the government’s justification to the unpopular premium increase is devoid of any logic. “How can it go bankrupt when presently, the SSS has more than 30 million members and is increasing rapidly furthermore, it has invested billions of pesos of its members’ funds in highly profitable industries such as real estate, mining, telecommunication, banking and power,” said labor leader Gie Relova.

Officials of the SSS claim that the state pension fund has accumulated an estimated 1.1 trillion pesos in unfunded liability since 1980 and has been increasing at an 8% rate annually will be totally extinguished by 2041. To address this, President Aquino approved the employee contribution increase by .6% in September after he discussed this in his 2013 State of the nation Address last July 22.

Relova reasoned that, “Assuming that the numbers of SSS members shall increase at its constant rate and they all rightfully avail of their benefits, what is wrong with that, those funds are ours to begin with. We must remember that compulsory deductions of the employed sector outweigh voluntary payments in a 5:1 ratio or even more therefore securing its perpetuity. Logic points to the mismanagement of the social security funds and a members’ premium increase is therefore not the solution to such predicament”.

“The depletion of the SSS funds by 2041 is simply a scare tactic by the Aquino government since the premium-paying members of today shall be pensioners by then,” Relova added.

The militants called for an independent investigation composed of genuine labor leaders and respectable personalities to look into the financial management of the state pension fund and wanted additional transparency and members’ participation in the fund’s investment portfolio and its proceeds.

The labor group cited anti-people SSS investments in mining magnate, Philex Mining which has caused water systems contamination at its mining sites in Benguet last year. The group also expressed doubt in the fund’s continued exposure in a volatile Philippine Stock Exchange.

“Only after an investigation and transparency measures in place and improved services can the government justify the contribution increase. Until they do so, wave upon wave of protest actions shall be launched against the parasitic and unmistakably anti-worker policy of the Aquino government,” Relova warned. ###

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