After President Benigno Aquino III thumbed down a measure raising monthly pensions for Social Security System members by P2,000, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has proposed that Malacanang and the SSS board provide for a smaller increase in benefits to partially ease the plight of retirees in the private sector.
"Actually, the SSS board, with the President's approval, can provide for a smaller increase even without congressional action," Belmonte said.
President Aquino has already ordered a study on a proposed P500 increase in pension benefits for SSS members.
Mr. Aquino vetoed the bill approved by both houses of the Congress which would have provided for a P2,000 across-the-board increase in the monthly pensions of SSS members. The veto was transmitted to the Congress a day before the bill would have lapsed into law.
In his veto message, the President said enacting the bill would compromise the welfare of an estimated 31 million SSS members “in favor of two million pensioners and their dependents” as well as “result in substantial negative income for the Social Security System.”
“More specifically,” he said, “the proposed pension increase of P2,000 per retiree, multiplied by the present number of more than two million pensioners, will result in a total payout of P56 billion annually. Compared against annual investment income of P30 billion-P40 billion, such total payment for pensioners will yield a deficit of P16 billion-P26 billion annually.”
The authors of the measure in the House of Representatives called for a congressional override of the veto. The Congress can override the veto by passing the bill with a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.