Palace urged to certify as urgent measures seeking higher pension for retirees

House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said Sunday the Philippines’ inclusion as among the countries having the worst pension systems for retirees should prod the Duterte government to certify as urgent measures seeking to increase the pension of senior citizens.

Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate (Bayan Muna Party list Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate
(Bayan Muna Party list FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

He lamented the country’s ranking in Australia-backed Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index (MMGPI) 2019, which rated the country’s retirement income protocol at 43.7 out of 100.

This placed the Philippines as the fourth-lowest rank, or 34th out of 37 countries, he noted.

“This is indeed very unfortunate and highlights the need for higher pensions for our senior citizens. The pensions of senior citizens here in the Philippines are almost at subhuman levels and should immediately be increased,” Zarate said.

The progressive lawmaker said there were two pending pro-retirees measures that have yet to be passed by Congress.

These include House Joint Resolution No. 1 for the second tranche of Social Security System (SSS) pension hike that would add P1,000 to the lowest level of pension given by the SSS; and House Bill No. 241, which seeks to increase the social pension of senior citizens in the whole country to at least P1,000.

“Since 2010, there has been no adjusment of the P500/monthly social pension of seniors and such an amount almost has no value now due to the added taxes of the TRAIN law. Add to this the fact that the social pension distribution to seniors have now been delayed for months and the elderly are already crying because of this,” Zarate said.

The Deputy Minority Leader said the government should take seriously the study, which was a collaboration of the Victorian government of Australia’s Monash Center for Financial Studies and professional services firm Mercer.

“This study should be a wake up call to the Duterte administration of the dreadful plight being ensured by our senior citizens and Pres.Duterte should certify our measures as urgent,” Zarate said.