Despite an admission that its current fund life can last until 2054, the Social Security System on Monday, February 15 disclosed that it has started implementing the increase in members contribution last January notwithstanding a strong public clamor against it.
SSS President and CEO Aurora Ignacio made this disclosure even as the House Committee on Public Accounts directed the SSS to submit a full report explaining its management of the social pension fund, including documents detailing its P550 billion investments in various income-earning ventures.
Chaired by Probinsyano Ako Rep. Jose “Bonito” C. Singson Jr. , the House panel launched its inquiry into the management by state-owned firms of social security and medical care funds in order to ensure their financial stability.
Singson said a simultaneous investigation will be conducted into the fund management of the Government Service Insurance System and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
“We want to make sure that the members get the proper benefits they are entitled to. The committee can introduce amendments to the laws in order to guarantee that there is a balance between the welfare of the members while the SSS continues to be financially viable,” said Singson.
The administration solon also reminded SSS of its commitment to instituting reforms within the agency, particularly increasing efficiency in loan repayments and collection of management contributions.
“In previous years, we received reports of so-called unconscionable bonuses that were disbursed to upper management,” said Singson.
The accounts committee inquiry started in less than a week after the Lower House passed on third and final reading a bill that grants the president the authority to suspend the increase in members contribution that should was to take effect starting the beginning of 2021.
Ignacio said that the SSS has started imposing the hike in contributions since January.
“We are implementing it right now given the fact that we not yet received any mandate to stop,” she said.
Singson said the management of investment funds is also a vital area that requires sound decisions of the management.
Together with 1Pacman Partylist Rep. Enrico Pineda, Singson sought a briefer on the various investments made by SSS in order to increase financial reserves.
Rizaldy Capulong of the SSS investment department said the state-owned insurance firm maintains an average of P517 billion held in various investments.
Responding to Pineda’s inquiry, Capulong disclosed that P247 billion in investments went to government securities, making up 42 percent of the whole portfolio.
He added that P112-B or 19 percent went to members loans; P98.53-B to equities; P59-B or ten percent to properties and P34-B or six percent to corporate bonds.
Pineda said the way SSS funds are investment will be among the areas that will be looked into by the public accounts panel.
“We will want to know who decides how much and where funds should be invested. What prompted them to arrive with such investment decisions,” said Pineda.