Migrante Partylist fully supports the growing public clamor for a P2,000 SSS (Social Security System) pension hike. It strongly condemns Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s veto on House Bill 5842, or the SSS Pension Hike Bill, authored by Rep. Neri Colmenares and which was consequently passed in the Senate last December.
By the end of 2014, the number of SSS-registered OFWs reached 1.03 million, 11.4% higher than the number of OFWs registered in 2013, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The DOLE also claims that, under the Aquino administration, the growth of OFW SSS members had outpaced the number of OFWs deployed annually.
SSS registration and contributions from OFWs are voluntary. In 2007, OFWs balked at the Arroyo administration’s proposal to make SSS contributions mandatory and a requirement for the issuance of the Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC). Global protests erupted to condemn the planned imposition, viewed by OFWs as another onerous taxation scheme by the government.
“The logical conclusion for the steady growth in SSS-registered OFWs is because our kababayans want to ensure security and benefits in the event of their return to the Philippines. We support the call for a P2,000 SSS pension hike because aside from being SSS members ourselves, we can easily empathize with majority of Filipino workers who are denied basic social services and benefits from the government. Puro koleksyon, wala namang sapat na proteksyon. Puro negosyo, wala namang serbisyo,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante Partylist 1st nominee.
Under the Aquino administration, Martinez said, services and benefits for OFWs have further deteriorated while more schemes for increased taxation and state exactions have been imposed.
“Kaya higit na nakakagalit para sa mga OFW ang pag-veto ni Aquino (sa P2,000 SSS pension hike). Boluntaryong naghuhulog ang mga kababayan natin. Galing na nga mismo sa kanilang bulsa ang kanilang aasahang pensyon dahil wala namang programa ang gobyerno. Bilyon ang iniaambag nila sa ekonomiya ng bansa mula sa remittances. Pati ba naman sapat na pensyon ay ipagkakait pa rin ng gobyerno sa kanila?”
Martinez said that OFWs and their families join other sectors in calling on Congress to override the presidential veto. “We enjoin all OFWs to circulate petitions addressed to their respective solons, join and launch Filipino community protests, and come together wherever they may be in the world on January 30 in solidarity with the National Day of Action for P2,000 SSS pension hike.”