In a show of overwhelming support to the more than 2 million retirees and survivors, it is only rightful for the Filipino people to raise a loud cry of protest condemning Benigno Aquino III’s veto of the proposed Social Security Act (HB 5842), a law that could have raised the current SSS pension premium by P2,000.
This, once again, showed big landlord Aquino III’s utter contempt for carrying out measures that provide adequate social support and services for the general masses, especially the elderly, whose pensions were in fact last augmented in 1997.
With the debilitating effects induced by the chronic economic crisis in a semi-feudal and semi-colonial society (what with the constant decline of the value of the peso and the steady rise in the prices of medical needs, services and basic commodities), Aquino III’s veto virtually deprives millions of hapless elderly people of what-could-have-been crutches to survive and cope in these trying times.
Shooting down the SSS pensioners bill is a brazen measure of cutting down on social spending, discouraging any and all future legislations that stipulates augmenting basic social services, such as health, education and pension. This clearly favors the neoliberal paradigm imposed by the profit-seeking interests of Aquino III’s real bosses, US imperialist monopoly and the local big bourgeoisie, over the majority poor’s needs, which for a long time have only either been answered artificially or completely neglected. Aquino III killed in its tracks not only the proposed 2,000-peso-increase for pensioners but also other proposals to increase wages, benefits, the education and health budget, and funds for other basic social services.
There is no truth to the claim that the SSS will go bankrupt once the Php 2,000 proposed increment to the pension premium is implemented because millions of working Filipinos across the country can collectively accumulate more than enough amount in contributions. The fund will never dry out if government is serious enough to get rid of corruption in the collection as well as the scandalous perks benefits to SSS officials.
Instead of genuinely providing for the most basic of social services, Aquino III has given away dole outs through the much-vaunted but corruption laden conditional cash transfer program, such as the 4Ps and Pamana. These dole outs induce spending among the impoverished, but has an inflationary effect and does not, in any way, create new work opportunities that will give way for genuine national development and industrialization.
Moreover, it is also common knowledge that the SSS fund is a milking cow for election spending and corruption. With barely four months to go before the 2016 national polls, the US-Aquino III regime, on one hand, will rather manipulate the funds for electoral purposes than freely hand it over to senior citizens. On the other, Aquino III refuses still to put the multi-billion DAP, which he keeps on a tight leash, to productive use to augment the SSS fund and other social services.
At the very end of Aquino III’s term, denying the people of adequate social services is his legacy of greed and indifference to the needs of the millions who are impoverished. Thus, in the remaining months of the US-Aquino III regime, the NDF-Mindanao calls on the people to continue to unite and rise in protest against the reactionary government’s continuing anti-people impositions.#
(Sgd) Ka Oris