As journalist who writes a column in this paper seven days a week, we often hear Social Security System (SSS) pensioners complaining of the government’s failure to have the quasi-government firm release the second P1,000 in the increase in monthly pension approved in the first year of the Duterte administration.
It may be recalled that the law granting the hike in pension by P2,000 was first passed by Congress (Senate and House) during the last year of the P-Noy presidency. However, the then President vetoed the legislation reportedly because of the lack of financial capability of the SSS to meet the additional obligation to the pensioners.
When President Duterte assumed office, the re-filing of the pension hike bill was one of the first he recommended for immediate passage in the legislative body. His wish was granted. Congress did not take long to pass the law. This time though, it was expressly provided that only the first P1,000 be first released and the second P1,000 be given upon the SSS’s determination that its finances can already afford it.
Early on the pensioners were hoping that the second tranche will be released a year after as committed by the SSS officials. But it is already almost three years since the first tranche was given but all the more that the chances of the additional P1000 be received sooner is getting murkier.
What is happening to this very pro-people initiative by the President? Why is he allowing some of his trusted men and women to derail his laudable intention for the pensioners who are mostly in the twilight of their years?
Yet again, the President is committing to increase the salaries and wages of government officials the earliest possible time his economic managers can assure him of funding source for the purpose. But for the pensioners, well the SSS has to continue collecting the increase in employees’ monthly premiums but still stick to its claim that its funds won’t suffice to start giving the additional P1000 in monthly pension.
We do not know if the local officials of Davao City, more specifically the ones assigned to manage the burgeoning vehicular traffic, are keeping a close watch on the imbroglio resulting from the daily almost 24 hours road gridlock in Metro Manila.
As some self-proclaimed experts in Congress and media organizations are claiming, the officials of the agency tasked to manage the metro traffic , the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), are fast becoming “scientists” because they keep on “experimenting” schemes to ease traffic in the Metro’s major routes, more specifically EDSA.
According to a study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) the traffic in Metro Manila translates into a daily loss of over P3 billion in the economy.
The present Metro Manila traffic scenario is not a far-fetched possibility in Davao City. Already, with the pace of development in this southern Mindanao metropolis, vehicular traffic in the major approaches to the city’s business center is getting intolerable.
Gridlocks are already observable on the stretches from Bankerohan to Ulas in the south route, in the Bajada-Buhangin route leading to Cabantian and to the airport-Panacan roads. Vehicles using the Panacan-J.P. Laurel as well as the Panacan-Sasa-R. Castillo-Agdao highways are on a bumper-to-bumper situation during certain hours of the day like between 7:00 to 10 a.m.; 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and from 4:00 p.m. to as late as 8:00 in the evening.
Clearly, this traffic situation is already bad. And much sooner the condition could turn into worst if this early (or late?) the city officials will not do some preemptive measures to prevent the worst traffic problem from happening in the city.
We are calling on our officials and traffic management experts to craft plans and programs that will address the potentially economically destructive traffic problem while it is still in its developing stage.
Or, would they rather allow for the evolution of Davao City into a showcase of ineptitude by its officials?
Yes, there is nothing wrong to learn the lessons from the Metro Manila traffic situation in the past many decades that has already taken its toll on the capital region’s economy and livability.