Manila, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III vetoed House Bill 5842 or “An act mandating a two thousand Peso (P 2,000) across-the-board increase in the monthly pension with the corresponding adjustment of the minimum monthly pension under the Social Security System, without his signature citing financial consequences.
But do you know that the Social Security System (SSS) pension is not the first popular bill vetoed by President Aquino during his term?
Actually, Congressional records show that for the 15th Congress a total of 12 bills including the Magna Carta for the Poor were also vetoed by the President during his first three years in office.
This is the list of other vetoed bills:
- The protection of the rights of internally displaced persons.
- The removal of the height requirement for police, fire and jail officers.
- Additional benefits for centenarians.
- The fixed term for the Armed Forces chief.
- Recognizing the early years from 0 to 6 as the first crucial stage of development.
- The grant of Filipino citizenship to Gulshan Bedi.
- The amendment of certain provisions of Republic Act 6958 or the charter of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority.
- Declaring the “waling-waling” as the national flower in addition to “Sampaguita”
- The grant of retirement, health care and death benefits to professional Filipino athletes who win world championship titles in international professional sports competitions.
- The strengthening of the career executive service and
- The establishment of the career executive system.
For the second half of President Aquino’s term which covers the 16th Congress from 2013 to date, Congress has enacted 91 laws, 69 of which are national, 17 are local and 5 are joint resolutions.
In view of measurable information from the Lower House, no bill was vetoed as of December 2015, yet 37 bills endorsed by both chambers are pending before the Office of the President.
Aquino explained the veto message address to the Congress:
“While we recognize the objective of the bill to promote the well being of the country’s private sector’s retirees, we cannot support the bill in its present form because of its dire financial consequences.”
The pension hike for over 2 million pensioners may result to substantial negative income for the SSS as it may only resort to using its Investment Reserve Fund (IRF) to support the pension hike, it may diminish over the years and reached zero by 2029, Aquino said
Aquino explained that “the proposed pension increase of P2,000 per retiree multiplied by the present number of more than 2 million pensioners will result in a total pay-out of 56 billion annually. Compared against annual investment income of P30 billion to P40 billion such total payment for pensioners will yield deficit of 16 to 26 billion annually.”
“The stability of the entire benefits system whose present membership comprises about 31 million individuals will be seriously compromised in favor of 2 million pensioners and their dependents,” he added. – Carl E