Vice Presidential bet and Senate Majority Floor Leader Alan Peter Cayetano said that he would initiate the call to legislators to end the executive branch’s legacy of vetoing important laws and make history by overriding the veto President Benigno Simeon Aquino III made on a bill which seeks a P2,000 across-the-board increase in Social Security System (SSS) monthly pensions.
“It is time for Congress to stand up for our millions of pensioners and give them the pension that they need. We must stand up against the executive’s awesome powers and ensure the passage of important laws that will help alleviate the lives of our people and show that we are the people’s voice and not just a rubber stamp of Malacanang,” Cayetano said.
Cayetano said social security is meant to help pensioners after their retirement cope with the costs of living without their regular salaries. “But what good is social security if what they get is so low that it cannot even meet their barest needs?”
It was reported that Aquino has vetoed or blocked several social legislation such as the Magna Carta for the poor and the lowering of income tax rates for working Filipinos.
“Wala pong personal o pulitika dito. Pinaglalaban po namin ang milyong milyong pensioners na kailangang kailangan itong 2000 pesos na ito para sa pang araw araw nilang pamumuhay.” Cayetano added.
The senator vowed to lead the charge in mobilizing the legislature to override Aquino’s veto. He said the legislative will require two-thirds vote of the House and Senate, voting separately.
“For the sake of our struggling people, I will do everything in my power to counter this veto. It is an uphill battle but a fight that must be waged nonetheless. We owe it to the people especially the vulnerable such as the elderly, the sick and the unemployed who are at the bottom barrel. Sobra-sobra na ang hirap nila,” Cayetano said.
In his veto message, Aquino explained that the stability of the entire benefit system will be ‘seriously compromised’ if the proposed pension hike is implemented.
Cayetano, however, said Aquino’s fear was based on wrong assumptions. The senator explained that the SSS should institutionalize long overdue reforms like increasing its rate of contribution collections and expanding its investment reserves.
Cayetano said if elected in the 2016 polls, he and his running mate, presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte will prioritize the pension hike of SSS members and look into the Government Service and Insurance System (GSIS) and Pagibig to upgrade and improve welfare of members and also exempt workers earning 20,000 pesos and below from income taxes.
“Ang kailangan ng mamamayan ay tunay na pagbabago na nakabatay sa matapang na solusyon at mabilis na aksyon. As part of our platform to promote equality under the law and genuine inclusive growth, we will work to substantially increase the people’s benefits to give them a better quality of life. We will provide the working people with a living wage and guarantee that the government promotes the welfare of the population through sustainable assistance measures,” Cayetano concluded./office of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano