Workers – young and old, contractual and regular – under the militant regional labor center PAMANTIK-KMU hit the consecutive “pro-US, pro-capitalist” measures by the BS Aquino administration and its tributaries yesterday, January 18.
Public outrage spilled to the streets by last week as the President vetoed House Bill 5842 or the SSS Pension Hike Bill, which aimed to increase pension by P2,000; and the Supreme Court decision declaring the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement constitutional.
They trooped today to the Social Security System (SSS) branch in Calamba City, Laguna – echoing the wide dissent of thousands of SSS pensioners.
Tagging the Aquino administration “heartless and anti-worker”, the workers readily debunked the government’s doomsday prediction and raison d’ etre for the veto, which pegged the SSS to run out of funds after 2029 due to the pension increase.
“Such a prediction will not prevail to pit SSS members against the pensioners and hide the fact that millions of our hard-earned money are being used up by the SSS’ top honchos. Independent studies and true, definite benefit-cost analysis of the SSS pension hike bill are in favor of its implementation, and will only call for revamping the entire SSS structure and management,” said Allan Bagas, secretary-general of PAMANTIK-KMU.
Bagas was referring to studies by Jose Carlos Maningat of independent research center Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Inc. and Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, which debunked SSS’ bankruptcy claim, and advocated for the improvement of the SSS’ collection efforts, accountability for employers failing to remit contributions, and government subsidy.
They followed this with another program at Crossing, Calamba in indignation of the affirmative high court decision on EDCA’s constitutionality.
“We continue to assert that EDCA is neither a constitutional agreement nor a way to free ourselves from foreign domination – the only way that we can be free from both China and US’ imperial ambitions is to assert our own nationalist foreign policy,” said Bagas.
The protest peacefully ended by 6 in the evening, but with a notice for more protests to come in the following days. #