The Philippine SSS Dilemma: A Failure of Political Communications

By N Mark Castro


One of the biggest news that came out of the Philippines recently was the sudden adjournment of the 16th Philippine Congress that was supposed to deliberate on overriding the veto of President Noynoy Aquino. Public clamor for the SSS (Social Services System) hike was on the table after Congress initially approved the bill and submitted it to the president for signature; however, the president vetoed it, citing that it would eventually drain the funds of SSS.

The dilemma of the president vetoing the bill is that his own allies and team did not prep him well enough.

In return, so as not to embarrass him with a congressional override of the veto, his congressional allies just decided to railroad the last session.

It’s a political exercise based on numbers and, of course, concessions.

Something that SSS contributors, pensioners, and general public did not appreciate.


In its form, the bill is highly flawed. Despite the president’s sound reasoning, his lack of social skills and empathy kill him even more.

But is the increase of SSS pension good?


Is it sustainable and financially viable.


Can it be done?


If there’s one thing congress has successfully demonstrated in its years of existence, it’s that it’s an expert in raising funds earmarked for a project.

The president himself has shown creative economic Magic by naming new funds as DAP, PDAF, etc to accommodate its agenda, i.e. Impeachment of Supreme Court Justice Corona.


The painful sentiment and frustration of the public is that it’s a small amount compared to the annual ghost budgets that both Congress and the Executive raise and use at their disposal, aside from the rampant corruption both Senate and Congress have been alleged to do with Napoles.

A little over a billion dollars to raise the SSS pension for people whose contributions have been dedicated to support the government.

It does not help that the SSS executives have been receiving stratospheric salaries while being a milking cow of every government that came.

The congressional railroad is a political exercise in the same way an impeachment is. And true enough, the Speaker of the House had just spoken so in this reportbelmonte

Yes, the essence of SSS Hike has been lost.

But if the president came back with a veto dictating for congress to fix it, to address the nation and say that they will fix it and return, then he would’ve found a nation eagerly supporting both the legislative and the executive.

The only thing evident thus far with this issue is a classic mismanagement of political communications and sloppy financial work.

And the biggest loser here would be the administration’s presidential candidate, Mar Roxas, who would receive the brunt of those clamoring for the SSS hike as a political payback. Aside from dwelling at the bottom of the ratings despite the controversies that have hounded other candidates, Mar Roxas campaign is forever hounded by the missteps of the administration that’s supposedly supporting him.

Several groups have already clamored for boycotting congressmen that allowed for the railroad to happen, and some addressing the same anger and frustration towards the administration’s presidential bet.

And, of course, it’s Mar Roxas fault.


Because he’s married to Korina.


About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the Southeast Asia Director of JUMP DIGITAL Asia, which is an internationally-awarded and fully integrated digital marketing agency with 5 out of 10 offices in the ASEAN region. He is also the Secretary General of the Philippine Business Club Indonesia, managing and assisting the traffic of investments between the Philippines and Indonesia. He shuttles between Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore, Cambodia, and Australia. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on February 5, 2016, in General, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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