SSS prepares sale of idle properties to generate cash for pensioners
State-run pension fund Social Security System (SSS) would dispose of more properties, possibly with the help of a third-party broker, to shore up revenues ahead of plans to hike pension disbursements, its new president and chief executive Emmanuel F. Dooc said.
In an interview with the Inquirer, Dooc, who officially took over SSS from his previous post as Insurance Commissioner last Nov. 17, said the pension fund wanted to fast-track the sale of idle assets, including lots at the Manila Harbor Center in Tondo.
“We know keeping idle properties will not give revenues to us. But there were also properties that have very strong potential for capital gains in value that it’s prudent to keep them and wait for the right timing,” Dooc said, citing for instance the residential properties in Urdaneta Village, Makati City, which he said would be kept in the meantime until its value appreciates.
Dooc said there was a proposal to engage a property broker to sell the SSS properties. He said the SSS would conduct a bidding for firms that would provide the service.
Early this year, the SSS sold one block composed of 11 lots in the Tondo property for P264 million. It tried to sell market lots totaling P1.5 billion.
Social Security Commission Chair Amado V. Valdez had already pitched to Congress the possibility of implementing the proposed across-the-board P2,000 pension hike in two tranches—a P1,000 increase next year, to be followed by the remaining half in 2022 or earlier.
“The SSS already made its presentation before Congress. I think it’s quite strong and persuasive based on numbers. But implementing [a one-time] P2,000 hike is truly difficult and we’re not prepared for that,” said Dooc.
An earlier SSS study revealed that adding P2,000 to existing pension payments would require either a corresponding adjustment in the contribution rate or a government subsidy, otherwise the pension fund’s life would last only until 2029 instead of 2042.
“If we can have our own way, we cannot just increase contributions—it will be an unpalatable approach. And even if we are more efficient in collections, it would not be enough,” Dooc said.
He said SSS also wanted to expand membership so that contributions from the increased number of paying members would exceed the amount being granted to retirees. At present, the SSS has about 32 million active members and two million pensioners.
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