IN an earlier news report, officials of the Social Security System (SSS) strongly appealed to Congress not to pass a law deferring the implementation of the increase in the monthly contribution of members.
They cited as a reason the possibility that should a deferment be mandated by law, it is likely that the agency’s pension funds may be disadvantaged.
But how come they have thought of this possibility when the primary reason why the agency is allowed to hike the SSS members’ monthly premium has not been done yet?
That is, that the agency has to increase the members’ contribution to ensure that the funds will not be depleted when it will give the second tranche of P1,000 for the monthly increase in pensions of retirees.
Yes, the SSS wants to proceed with the premium hike but is quick to justify not releasing the second P1,000 again saying that this will endanger the SSS funds viability.
It further says that the law granting the pensioners P2 thousand monthly hike does not specify any date of the release of the second tranche. It only guarantees that the increase must be given. As to when the SSS officials can’t decide.
Now, what if such interpretation of the supposed grant of authority to increase the monthly premium hike be interpreted the way the SSS gods think of the same law granting the increase of the monthly pensions of retirees from the private employment sector? We can only imagine how the SSS officials will feel.
Well, they can always say that the law is specific as to the schedule of the effectivity of the increase. But again, Congress can make it tentative given the economic situation that both the worker-members and the employers are into in these critical times of the economy.
Unless the members of Congress in both houses are themselves deaf and blind to hear and see what is happening to the country today, they’d surely accede to the SSS officials’ plea.
Remember that this column took up the issue of Davao City’s silence on conducting simulation exercises on how to ensure a smooth roll-out of the massive vaccination program against the dreaded COVID? That was in our treatise early this week.
Last Tuesday, the mayor informed the public through her program over Disaster Radio that she had called for a meeting among many local and national agencies in the city to map out plans on how to roll out the massive vaccination activities. The lady mayor mentioned that she has organized a group to oversee the roll-out and that this will be headed by newly retired former City Health Officer Dr. Josephiine Villafuerte.
We do not know whether the group of Dr. Villafuerte will be recommending for the conduct of simulation exercises in rolling out the vaccination activities.
But we are certainly happy about this development that the mayor has advised the public. At least weeks before the arrival of the vaccines, there is already the possibility that everything that needs to be done for the success of the massive vaccination will already be in place.
Besides, we had worked with Dr. Villafuerte in the past when the company we worked with before did several medical missions in some rural areas of the city. She saw to it that responsibilities on her office’s side were done – and done right.
Sometime in the third week of January this year, we read reports that some 82 barangay in Davao City have been promised assistance of P20 million each for implementation of various development projects.
Though the news said the 82 barangay were identified, their names were not given by the source of the news – National Security Adviser Ret. AFP Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon Jr.
But according to the National Security chief, the reason for the grant is that the barangays concerned have been successful in the drive to extricate their areas from the grip of the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels. True or not, we have no way of knowing because the identities of the barangays concerned are not divulged.
But let us give the National Security adviser of the President the benefit of doubt. That is, that he may have been correctly advised of the barangays liberated from the influence of the rebel group.
Now, our fervent hope this time is that the officials of the barangays concerned will not wangle the money their barangay will receive as some kind of prize for their fate. And we hope further that they will not be tempted to allocate the bigger portion of the funds to their private pockets.
Of course, we trust that the national government, from where the funds emanated, will put in place the necessary safeguards to protect the money from greedy individuals.
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