By Pet Melliza/ The Beekeeper
What would happen if the Social Security System (SSS) stopped collecting contributions from members?
That’s not a problem, answers Rep. Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna Partylist). “Even if it stops collecting, the SSS has cash on hand that can enable it to pay pensioners until the next 40 years,” he told participants in two fora here last July 7 at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol, Iloilo City.
Colmenares met with SSS retirees to discuss House Bill 4365 which he co-authored with Rep. Teddy Casino, also of the same partylist. The proposed measure seeks to raise the minimum monthly pension from P1,200 to P7,000.
“That’s typical of the SSS,” notes Colmenares. “When we apply for loans or increased pensions, SSS will just plead lack of funds.” The amount of P1,200 is insufficient to buy a sack of rice of 50 kilos.
We were taking pictures of the gathering, at the ground lobby of the Iloilo Capitol and our attention got caught on the huge assets in the hands of a government insurance corporation that scrimps to provide benefits that its owners, private employees, self-employed individuals and retirees, truly deserve.
Colmenares’s revelation is good news: even if it stopped collecting, the SSS can still pay its members until the next 40 years. Further, it has uncollectibles reaching P90 billion, courtesy of employers who fail to remit the premiums collected from their employees.
Non-remittance of premium by an employer is punishable by a fine ranging from P5,000 to P20,000 maximum or jail term of six months to 12 years (Section 28 (c), RA 8282).
Afternoon of July 17, the Bayan Muna solon met with Iloilo barangay officials and discussed on HB 5637 that seeks to expand the coverage of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) to the barrio captain and members of the sangguniang barangay, and the barangay treasurer and secretary. Their contributions are to be augmented by funds from the barangay, municipal and provincial funds, and the General Appropriations Act. The proposed law though does not alter the emoluments due the barangay officials which RA 7160 classifies as honorariums, not salaries.
Colmenares and Casino co-author HB 5637. At least, we have working legislators who busy themselves introducing relevant policies and not petty matters like renaming streets and schools.
Manuel “Boy” Mejorada, TV and radio anchor, shares common traits with partners Kamlon Ang and Ibrahim Calanao who co-anchor the sitcom “Ukay-Ukay” over Aksyon Radyo from 11 to 12 noon every Sunday.
Mejorada and the pair have political advocacies, biases, if you may as they present to listeners what governance and politics should be, to be more specific, who deserve support by the electorate.
All three have the gift of gab to argue on the set of facts they present. If their respective programs cause a stir, or as the adage puts it, “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable”, it’s the result of their rich experience in establishing rapport with the crowd.
Something amuses me though with the block time of Kamlon and Ibrahim. Instead of having one full hour on board, in more cases than not, their elbow room gets constricted by 30 minutes as a politico gets on air ahead. In some cases, they have only 15 – 20 minutes left.
The guy just rattles off names and places, and nice things about this-what and good news on that-who but misses the raison d’etre why one is “on board”, that is, the purpose of political broadcasting which is to raise issues in order to sell a platform or a person advocating that platform.
The guy is pathetic. He mentions all and everything but in the process speaks of nothing at all because all he does is let off torrents of greetings and dropping names of “(ig)soon secretary” and “maninoy senator”, then toward the end, fires his endless stream of bye-byes.
He sounds anticlimactic. For example: “Dali na lang matapos aton programa, apang antes anay kita magbulagay, ginatamyaw ko anay sila ni…” and there goes again his stream of hellos. He is not leaving yet but just restarting another round of kilometric greetings and mentioning of names, ad eternam forgetting that simplicity, brevity, sharpness and clarity of stand and analysis, still remain top virtues in effective communication.