No additional ₱1,000 pension hike this 2019 — SSS

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 10) — The second tranche of the Social Security System's (SSS) pension increase will not be released this 2019, an official confirmed Thursday.

The remaining ₱1,000 of the ₱2,000 pension hike will not be granted this year as SSS is experiencing "difficulties."

This was confirmed to CNN Philippines by SSS Vice President for Public Affairs and Special Events Division Louie Sebastian.

"Lagi kasi nating kailangang balansehin 'yung sinasabi nating pagbibigay ng benipisyo at tsaka 'yung pag-adjust ng competition sa SSS," Sebastian said in an interview with CNN Philippines News Night.

[Translation: We always need to balance the giving of benefits and the adjustment of competition in SSS.]

"It's very important to ensure that we have enough funds to support all these benefits-- not just the retirement, but the other five benefits as well."

Sebastian noted the agency is looking to implement the hike by 2020. She, however, assured it will definitely be out by the end of President Rodrigo Duterte's term.

"Medyo positibo po tayo diyan (We're somewhat positive about that)," she added.

"The target is to grant the additional ₱1,000 additional pension by 2020 so 'yun po 'yung pinagsisikapan (that's what we're working on), but definitely during the term of President Duterte."

SSS earlier sought the delay of the second tranche as the planned contribution rate hike has yet to push through.

In May 2018, the state-owned pension fund in a statement said they will run out of money in seven years should the hike take place this year.

But Sebastian clarified the agency will still be able to pay their dues until 2032.

"The fund life of SSS-- kumbaga (meaning) we will be able to pay all the benefits due to our members-- until 2032. 'Yun po ang ating (that's our) existing fund life."

Bayan Muna Party-List Representative Carlos Zarate, meanwhile, expressed his dismay over the pronouncement, saying that senior citizens will get "badly hit" by the non-implementation of the second tranche of the pension hike.

He added the initial pension increase in 2017 would be "rendered useless" due to the soaring prices of commodities.

In January 2017, Duterte approved an increase in the pension of retired SSS members.

As of the moment, SSS has 15.3 million actively paying members and over two million registered pensioners, Sebastian said.