The Social Security Act of 2018 (RA 11199) which was signed only recently by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, allows the state pension firm to increase its allocation for foreign investments from 7.5 percent to 15 percent to be drawn from its Investment Reserve Funds.
Early this week SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Dooc announced that the government company will be foraying into the offshore market even as he admitted that it lacks the expertise in doing so. Dooc has no qualms in saying that the pension firm will be hiring consultants to handle the investment. That’s add-on expense even before the actual investment.
Many SSS member employees and employers, as well as pensioners, are raising eyebrows on this plan. According to them they are afraid that if the plan of the SSS to invest in foreign currency deposits will push through it could endanger their hard-earned contributions. What with the admission of the SSS president himself that the firm does not have a track record in foreign investing.
But is not RA 11199 the same law that mandates the increase in member contribution from 11 percent of salary credits to 12 percent starting this year to reach 15 percent by 2025?
Why then is the SSS president banding around the firm’s plan of giving priority to doubling its fund for foreign investment even as it is silent as a lamb as far as the release of the second installment of the P2,000 hike in monthly pension of retirees?
Was not the second P1,000 the most urgent reason given by the SSS people to Congress to pass the 2018 Social Security Act? Was it not one of the considerations of the politics-laden motive of the members of Congress to approve the bill if only to appease the pensioners who can still help make and unmake them this coming election?
Indeed it is hard to comprehend why the SSS is dilly-dallying in its obligation to comply another mandate it is given – increase the monthly pension — while it is bullish in gambling its funds on some ventures that it admits it still has to learn the trade.
And why is President Duterte not wary of the failure of the SSS to deliver on his promise to the pensioners? Was not having Congress resurrect the pension hike bill thumbed down by his predecessor his first major pro-people act?
We fervently hope the President is not adhering to the strategy once used by the late US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he was campaigning for reelection the first time.
According to a story, Roosevelt scheduled a campaign sortie in the state of Alabama a month before election. His campaign adviser told him, “Mr. President, be aware that when you first ran for the Presidency you made a promise for a project to be implemented in that state, and you failed to make good your promise. How are you going to handle the issue should the audience confront you with it?”
Roosevelt who was famous for his quick repartee, replied, “That should not be a problem. I will just tell them I could not remember I ever made that promise. That is neither denying nor admitting. And I will proceed to say that since they brought the issue out I will now make that promise and make good with it in the next four years.”
We are supportive of Malacanang’s position on not being reckless in ordering deportation of Chinese nationals working in the Philippines allegedly wanting in permits. That is, that the government must have to be thorough in its application of the law governing alien workers in the country even if they may lack documents demanded by our laws.
We find the reason of Malacanang practical. We have close to half a million Filipinos working in China, the bulk of whom are in Hong Kong. And we are certain that a good number of them are without the necessary permits or wanting in authorization. So, if we invoke our immigration laws as basis in ousting Chinese nationals from working in projects mostly funded by their government, the Chinese government can also return the favor by applying its own laws.
And China can even be harsher. Its government can use its economic muscle to get back at the Philippines. How soon our leaders, and the Filipinos in general, forget what happened to our banana exports when Chinese health authorities simply used the issue of quality in not buying Philippine bananas?
If China has stood up, and still is standing, against the United States trade sanctions where the cost is in billions of dollars, should we not even think that the former may not hesitate to stand up against our government’s hardening of position against their nationals working in the Philippines?
And worst, are our lawmakers and labor leaders blind to the fact that the bulk of employed Filipinos are working in Chinese-owned industries and business establishments; the Chinese who are masquerading as Filipino citizens by birth or by monetary consideration?
Yes, by all means our leaders should be passionate in doing their mandate. But they should not also be enslaved by their passion to the point of endangering the interest of peaceful co-existence among peoples and countries.
Passion and recklessness should never be allowed to rule. Reason must.
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