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Tama pala si Aquino: Duterte apologizes for failing in SSS pension hike campaign promise

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It was one of his biggest campaign promises but President Rodrigo Duterte came to a rude awakening when he realized that President Benigno Aquino was right all along in vetoing the P2,000 increase in pension benefits of the Social Security System (SSS).

In an interview with PTV-4, Duterte felt constrained to explain what he called as the “impasse” between Congress who resurrected he P2,000 increase and his economic managers who balked at the impact of the pension hike for private employees on the government.

Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, Socioecomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia and Budget Secretary Ben Diokno who gave a “bleak outlook” to the President that the SSS simply does not have the funds to meet the pension hike and the only alternative was for the government to subsidize it which would be unfair to non-SSS members.

“I promised that it would come your way before the year ends. I’m very sorry but that’s how it is. I do not own the money. And hindi naman—Ang problema kasi dito is government assures everybody that SSS will remain solvent for all times,” Duterte said.

“So just in case there will be severe shortages, it’s not a sovereign thing, debt something like that. But it’s an assumption of, it’s a legal guarantee of a government that created another agency under its wings. And if it, if it… You know, if anything goes there, it will be passed on to the taxpayers, those who are not members. So that’s the problem. Because hindi naman kasalanan ng buong bayan. Hindi naman sila miyembro lahat. Government tayo, GSIS (government Service Insurance System). So the same thing,” said Duterte.

During the campaign, Duterte boasted that the raising the SSS pension was just a matter of political will and that he promised he could have it in place in the first six months in office. Duterte was capitalizing on the public fallout against Aquino who had to veto the pension hike because it was a no-win for the government..

But Duterte said he would still ask his economic managers if there was really no alternative. “Anyway, we’ll meet again. Naunahan ko lang because marami na kasing pumapasok tawag of what happened. So is there or is there not anything to expect in the days ahead,” said Duterte.