MANILA – President Benigno S. Aquino III defended on Friday his decision to veto a bill increasing the Social Security System (SSS) pension by P2,000, saying 30 million active SSS members will be affected by the proposal.

”I just want to emphasize, 2.15 million pensioners will be affected positively; negatively the P2,000 pension (hike) will affect 30 million (SSS members),” the President told the media after gracing two events in Malolos City, Bulacan.

President Aquino said the SSS will have to allot P56 billion each year had he signed the proposed P2,000 pension hike for the 2.15 million pensioners.

”If we will allow this (increase) and we will do nothing, where we will get money for our pensioners beyond 2028 and 2029?” the President asked.

Since the SSS earns P30- to P40-billion only every year in its investment reserve fund, the President said the pension hike will result to at least P26 billion deficit each year.

The President also explained that based on the actuarial studies, the SSS will become a bankrupt agency after 11 years if the increase will be granted.

”So the question: Will the 2.15 million (pensioners) will be happy that 30 million (SSS members) will suffer? Are we protecting the funds of every member? So that’s the basis of our decision when we vetoed this measure because it will not sustain our SSS system,” President Aquino said.

The President told the media that his government is studying possible option to increase the benefits of the pensioners.

”We’re studying it. Can we give P500? If we’ll give additional P500, we will reduce the life of the fund. I have asked them (Finance) to come out with computation,” he said.

At present, SSS pensioners who have accumulated at least 10 years of service receive P1,300 pension while those who have served 20 years get P3,000 pension every month. PNA /