January 14, 2016 – News Releases
|14 Jan 2016|
|President Aquino vetoes bill increasing Social Security System monthly pension|
|Malacañang on Thursday announced that President Benigno S. Aquino III has vetoed the bill providing for an increase in the monthly pension of Social Security System (SSS) members.
In a statement, Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. has sent a letter dated January 12, 2016 to both Senate President Franklin Drilon and House of Representatives Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. regarding the President’s veto message.
House Bill No. 5852 is an act “mandating a P2,000 across-the-board increase in the monthly pension with a corresponding adjustment of the minimum monthly pension under the SSS, amending for the purpose Section 12 of Republic Act No. 1661, as amended, otherwise known as the Social Security Act of 1997”.
“According to Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr., the President has informed Congress, through the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, that he has vetoed the enrolled House Bill No. 5842, which provides for a two thousand pesos (P2,000) across-the-board increase in the monthly pension of Social Security System pensioners and adjustment of the minimum monthly pension from P1,200 to P3,200, for members who have contributed the equivalent of 10 credited years of service (CYS), and from P2,400 to P4,000, for those with at least 20 CYS,” said Secretary Coloma.
The Palace official noted that in his message, President Aquino pointed out that the stability of the entire SSS benefit system, whose present membership comprises about 31 million individuals, will be seriously compromised in favor of two million pensioners and their dependents.
He quoted the President as stating that “the P2,000 across-the-board pension increase with a corresponding adjustment of the minimum monthly pension will result in substantial negative income for the SSS. More specifically, the proposed pension increase of P2,000 per retiree, multiplied by the present number of more than two million pensioners, will result in a total payout of P56 billion annually. Compared against annual investment income of P30 billion – P40 billion, such total payment for pensioners will yield a deficit of P16 billion – P26 billion annually.”
“In view of this, President Aquino said the SSS will be constrained to draw from and use its Investment Reserve Fund (IRF) to support the pension increase and as a result, ‘the IRF will diminish over the years, eventually reaching zero by the year 2029’,” Coloma said. PND (jm)
|Papal Nuncio praises President Aquino’s leadership during ‘Vin d’Honneur’|
|Papal Nuncio and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Archbishop Guiseppe Pinto, praised President Benigno S. Aquino III during the Vin d’Honneur in Malacañang on Thursday as he recognized the administration’s strides in uplifting the lives of Filipinos, improving the economy, and addressing climate change.
The President on Thursday hosted his last New Year’s Vin d’Honneur at the Palace’s Rizal Hall.
“Mr. President, the concerted efforts of your administration to give more jobs and opportunities to individuals and families is your answer to their aspirations, as you affirmed in your last State of the Nation Address,” Archbishop Pinto said in his toast.
“Our commitment is to ensure that no one is left behind. Dedication to the cause of peace, especially in Mindanao, reduction of the effects of global warming and climate change, as well as continuous efforts to promote justice and common good are among the most noble objectives of your government.”
The year 2015 was historic for the Philippines, which successfully hosted the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit that showcased not only the renowned Filipino hospitality but also the government’s capacity to host such an important global meeting of leaders, the Papal Nuncio said.
He thanked President Aquino, Acting Secretary of Foreign Affairs Laura del Rosario, and other collaborators for their valuable cooperation in the fulfillment of the diplomatic corps’ mission.
Archbishop Pinto also reminded the attendees that January 15 (Friday) marks the anniversary of the Apostolic Journey of Pope Francis in the Philippines.
“It was the Pope’s embrace of faith and hope to the Filipino people reciprocated with enthusiasm and the affection by the people in the streets and parks, in churches and universities, as well as in the modest homes of the victims of the typhoons, especially in Tacloban and Palo,” he said. PND (as)
|President Aquino hosts his last New Year’s Vin d’Honneur in Malacañang|
|President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday hosted his last New Year’s Vin d’Honneur in Malacañang Palace, thanking the members of the foreign diplomatic community for maintaining close ties with the Philippines and assisting the country in overcoming major challenges during his five-and-a-half years in office.
“Today, in marking the New Year with you for the last time as President, I could not be prouder—or more thankful for everything we have achieved together,” the President said in his speech during the event.
“One hundred million Filipinos began the virtuous cycle of change in 2010 and worked with us to ensure its progress, aided by so many partners and friends from the world over, like all of you here.”
Forging stronger bilateral ties requires more than words and wishful thinking, the President told the members of the diplomatic community, noting that to produce actual results, there must be commitment and action.
He said that during his time in office, he had the good fortune to work with members of the diplomatic corps, citing their “deep desire to help Filipinos” and their own people, making their respective countries proud.
The President particularly expressed his gratitude to Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto, who he said has worked closely with the government, “not only in ensuring the success of last year’s papal visit, but also in uplifting the lives of Filipinos”.
He also thanked Ambassador Guy Ledoux, former head of the European Union delegation, “who was instrumental in our achievements in aviation, agriculture, trade, and even in the Mindanao peace process”.
United States Ambassador Philip Goldberg was also recognized by the President for playing a vital role in ensuring close ties between the US and the Philippines, especially in forging a strengthened bilateral defense cooperation.
The Chief Executive also extended his gratitude to former Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and his successor, Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa, who have worked to enhance the Philippines’ and Japan’s strategic partnership by facilitating significant humanitarian assistance and official development assistance, as well as the successful state visits to both nations.
President Aquino also acknowledged Urabe’s role in arranging the initial meeting between him and the top leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Tokyo that “served as the foundation on which both parties built trust and mutual good will”.
The President likewise thanked Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Japan, Norway, the European Union, Libya, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the US for supporting the Mindanao peace process.
The cooperation between the Philippines and other members of the international community has already borne fruit, he said, citing the agreement reached during the COP21 in France, which embodies everyone’s commitment to address global climate change.
He hoped to maintain good relations with other countries to overcome the rest of the major challenges that the country faces, such as the rising number of refugees seeking sanctuary, the evil of extremism, and the ever-present battle against inequality and corruption.
“These are massive, daunting undertakings—that much is true,” he said.
“Yet they also represent opportunities for us to help millions of people to live peaceful, secure, dignified lives—to put enough food on their tables, to live free from fear, and to pull their weight, as we all do our part in building a better world.”
Vin d’Honneur, which is derived from the French term, meaning ‘wine of honor’, is the name of two official receptions hosted by the President of the Philippines at Malacañang Palace on New Year’s Day and Independence Day. It aims to strengthen the country’s diplomatic relations with other countries. PND (as)
|Palace explains President Aquino’s veto of bill on Social Security System pension increase|
|Malacañang on Thursday explained why President Benigno S. Aquino III has vetoed the bill which provides for a P2,000 increase in the monthly pension of Social Security System (SSS) members.
House Bill No. 5852 is an act “mandating a P2,000 across-the-board increase in the monthly pension with a corresponding adjustment of the minimum monthly pension under the Social Security System, amending for the purpose Section 12 of Republic Act No. 1661, as amended, otherwise known as the Social Security Act of 1997”.
Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the President’s decision was made with the 31 million members of the SSS in mind and not just the present 2.1 million pensioners who will stand to benefit with the increase.
Secretary Coloma said the government has a duty to ensure that the SSS is stable enough to pay the benefits of its entire membership.
“Mayroong 2.1 million miyembro na tumatanggap ng pensyon at kung ang bawat isa ay makatatanggap ng karagdagang pension na P2,000 a month times 13 months, ang halagang tinitingnan natin ay P56 billion a year. At ang magiging immediate na epekto nito, mauubos ang pondong nakalaan para sa lahat ng kasalukuyang 31 miyembro sa 2029 o 13 taon mula ngayon,” he said during a press briefing at the Palace.
“Bago ipinanukala ang dagdag pensyong ito, ang pondo ng SSS ay itinayang aabot hanggang 2042. So ang tanong: Makatuwiran bang mapariwara ang katatagan ng pondo ng SSS habang hindi isinaalang-alang ang kabutihan ng higit na nakararaming miyembro.”
Coloma also noted that the proposed pension hike would leave the SSS cash-strapped and the government wants to avoid such situation.
“Ang tugon ng isang responsableng pamahalaan ay ito: una, kailangan maging makatuwiran ang anumang pagdadagdag sa benepisyo; ikalawa, dapat isaalaang-alang ang katatagan ng pondo upang makamit ng lahat ng miyembro ang kanilang inaasahang pensyon kapag sila ay nagretiro,” he said.
“‘Yung sobrang laki ng epekto nito na hinihigitan pa ang kontribusyon at ang investment income at dahil dito ay iikli ang buhay ng pondo, na sa halip hanggang 2042 ay hanggang 2029 lamang,” he further said.
Coloma said the President’s veto should not be interpreted as being inconsiderate.
“Ang pangunahing layunin ng pamahalaan ay tiyakin ang katatagan ng pondo ng SSS para tugunan ang pangmatagalang pangangailangan ng lahat ng 31 milyong miyembro nito. Hindi magiging responsable ang pamahalaan kung hahayaang mapariwara o masira ang katatagan ng pondo. Ito na ang magiging sukdulan ng kawalan ng malasakit sa ating mga Boss, ang mamamayang Pilipino, kung hahayaan nating mangyari ito,” he explained.
While pensioners may be disheartened by President Aquino’s decision, Coloma assured that the SSS is studying its options on how to improve services to its members while taking into consideration the agency’s stability.
“Nananatiling bukas ang pamahalaan at patuloy na pinag-aaralan ng pangasiwaan ng SSS kung paano pa higit na mapapahusay ang serbisyo sa mga miyembro at kung ano pang mga benepisyo ang maaaring maibigay sa kanilang habang isinasaalang-alang ang katatagan o estabilidad ng pondo at ang tinatawag na actuarial life nito na hindi dapat mapariwara,” he said.
The Palace official said Congress can override the President’s veto by a two-thirds vote.
“Pinag-aaralan kung ano pang mga legal measures ang maaaring kuhanin hinggil dito. Patungkol naman sa overriding a veto, ayon sa batas, two-thirds vote ang kinakailangan,” Coloma said. PND (jm)
|President Aquino confers Gawad Mabini on business tycoon Tony Tan Caktiong|
| President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday conferred the Gawad Mabini with the rank of Commander (Dakilang Kasugo) on business magnate Tony Tan Caktiong for his contributions as chairman of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 Chief Executive Officers (CEO) Summit.
In a simple ceremony at the Music Room of Malacañang Palace, President Aquino presented the award to Tan Caktiong for his role as co-chairman of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and Entrepreneurship Working Group.
Last December, President Aquino conferred the same award on two other business tycoons who were tapped to head the ABAC, namely Doris Magsaysay-Ho, who chaired the ABAC; and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, who chaired the APEC 2015 Private Sector Advisory Council and co-chaired the ABAC Sustainable Development Working Group.
Tan Caktiong, founder of fast-food chain Jollibee, was awarded for his efforts that led to the success of the different ABAC initiatives, including the APEC 2015 CEO Summit, which aimed to encourage ABAC members to collaborate on improving the people’s quality of life in the APEC region.
He was also commended for his leadership in the ABAC, which provided support for the hosting of numerous APEC-related workshops and high-level events.
Tan Caktiong was likewise recognized for his exceptional and laudable philanthropic services as chairman of the Jollibee Group Foundation.
He was cited for his efforts in improving the fields of education, youth involvement, livelihood programs for farmers, environment protection, and decent housing and disaster relief for calamity-stricken regions.
Established in 1974, the Gawad Mabini is conferred by the President on Filipinos who have rendered distinguished service or promoted the interests of the Republic of the Philippines at home and abroad.
It is a regular order of merit of the country, which is composed of three ranks: Dakilang Kamanog (Grand Cross), Dakilang Kasugo (Commander) and Kasugo (Member). PND (jb)