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Did Duterte avoid a possible backlash of a lower SSS pension hike?

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President Duterte skipped Tuesday a press briefing called by the Presidential Communications Operations Office right inside the reception call of Malacanang, purportedly to avoid the backlash of a lower pension hike for the retired members of the Social Security System.

Duterte did not appear in the press conference where Presidential spokesman Undersecretary Ernesto Abella announced the P 1,000 pension hike– which was barely half of the P2,000 originally proposed in Congress. SSS president Emmanuel Dooc and SSS Chairman Amado Valdez were also on hand to answer the queries of the media about the matter.

A bearer of bad news, Abella also announced the corresponding 1.5 percent contribution hike which will be imposed on all 34-million contributors this May, and the increase in the monthly salary credit to P 20,000 from the current P 16,000.

“He seeks to fulfill a social contract with the Filipino people, especially the elderly and the poor who gave the best years of their lives in service, while exercising fiscal responsibly to ensure economic sustainability and protect the gains made by those who have prudently invested in the nation’s future,” Abella said.