S. Tagalog workers compare sub-P2000 SSS pension hike compromise to “haggling at Divisoria”, urges Congress to override presidential veto

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Workers from the Southern Tagalog region today hit President Aquino’s pitch for a P500 Social Security System (SSS) pension hike, which they termed as a “cheap, save-face haggle at Divisoria”.

This was after Aquino vetoed House Bill 5842, which proposed a P2,000 across-the-board pension increase for SSS beneficiaries, claiming that the hike will render the service fundless by 2029.

The claim has been nullified by different independent studies and from the actual study by the bill’s author, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares.

“After pitting SSS beneficiaries against SSS members, BS Aquino is now treating us workers like surplus goods, worthy of lower prices,” said Allan Bagas, secretary-general of the militant regional labor center PAMANTIK-KMU.

Bagas added that they were deeply offended by the explored compromise, as he lamented the already-sorry state of laborers in the region. Actual figures show a high turnout of contractual workers in the region, which are most likely deprived of a necessary wage and benefits, like monthly contributions to the SSS.

The labor center similarly denounced proposals for a P1,000 pension increase, saying it will still render pensioners unable to cope with their needs. According to Rep. Colmenares’ study, a P2,000 wage increase will be enough, if not able, to cover a pensioner’s daily requirements.

“It makes perfect economic sense to increase the SSS pension, as it will also empower pensioners to afford their basic needs, and may even lessen the stress they experience in their everyday tasks,” added Bagas.

He lamented the BS Aquino administration’s “determination to impoverish the people to the grave, and vainly justify the veto as a move of compassion.” He added that such a move was a show of “continuing callousness under the genuinely crooked Daang Matuwid”.

Bagas also urged Congress to override BS Aquino’s veto of the bill, “if they truly are rational public servants”.

“Even with the intense whitewash Aquino and his stalwarts are in, the people know that they will never realize inclusive growth with the true anti-worker and anti-people character of his social policies,” Bagas ended. # # #

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