Govt plans P30-b hike in SSS, GSIS, other benefits

Published by rudy Date posted on February 3, 2009

THE government has proposed a P30-billion package of increases in benefits to members of the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, Philippine Health Insurance Corp. and the Pag-IBIG Fund for housing.

The time-bound increases might be implemented within the next 12 to 18 months, when the effects of the global economic crisis were expected to be felt most, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto said.

Recto, also director-general of the National Economic and Development Authority, said PhilHealth had already committed to increase its members’ benefits by 20 percent.

“I have already spoken with Health Secretary [Francisco] Duque, and he said PhilHealth will increase its benefits by 20 percent,” he said.

“So whereas you got only around P7,500 when you got sick before, now you will get P9,000.”

Recto was confident the SSS, GSIS and Pag-IBIG would heed the government’s call to increase their members’ benefits.

“If you’re a senior citizen and you’re a pensioner of SSS, and we can afford to give additional benefits, why not?” he said.

“For that limited period of time during this crisis, this will help spur consumption. Increases in housing benefits under Pag-IBIG is also a good measure, since it will have a big multiplier effect.”

Meanwhile, Recto said the government would ensure the P100-billion infrastructure fund from the SSS and GSIS was spent on projects with assured returns.

“The key here is to find good investments that are financially viable, such as investments in energy and in [light rail systems],” he said.

Earlier, a Palace source said the government would provide a sovereign guarantee to the P100-billion fund, which will be made available to private firms participating in the government’s priority infrastructure projects.

The state-run National Development Co. would float long-term bonds to cover the loans, the source said. Joyce Pangco Pañares, Manila Standard Today

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