Press Release
July 17, 2008

Loren urges more benefits for pensioners

Good news for pensioners who are finding it hard to make both ends meet due to the high cost of goods, services and transportation in the country today.

Senator Loren Legarda has filed a resolution calling on the Senate to update the laws relating to the benefits of pension holders so that they and their respective families may be able to cope with the ever rising cost of living in the country.

"Definitely, there is a need to increase the pension benefits of retirees from both the private and public sector," said Legarda, chair of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee and Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development.

However, she said that alleviating the plight of pensioners may also take the form of other measures like discounts and other "value-adding elements."

"With the prices of consumer goods, services and transportation hitting all-time highs, the purchasing power of our retirees had been dramatically reduced," she said, citing the country's 11.4 percent inflation rate, the highest since 1994.

The senator pointed out that the rising cost of living in the country has resulted in welfare losses of people, including retirees who rely on their pensions for their day-to-day needs.

"The escalating prices of essential commodities such as food and fuel have triggered the concomitant increase in prices of other goods, thereby eroding the purchasing power of consumers," Legarda said.

According to 2006 statistics, families with lower incomes are heavily dependent on pension, compared to families with higher incomes.

"The same statistics illustrate that the average pension received by the poorest income decile (10 percent) is only slightly higher than the poverty threshold of P15,057 per person in 2006, therefore, the pension received by those in the lower brackets is enough to support one person only," she said.

"Whereas the country has experienced shocks in the economy that resulted in high inflation rates and slower economic growth, thus effectively making the country worse off than in 2006."

The laws relating to the benefits of pension holders may need to be updated in order to help pensioners and their families cope with the adverse effects of the present economic conditions, she said.

Legarda said it is the duty of Congress to look into policies that will cushion the vulnerable sectors of the country from negative economic shocks.

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