#Civil Rights
His Excellency, Presidend Manny Mori
Micronesia, Federated States of

FSM Congress introduced C.B. No. 15-52 in its Second Special Session held during September 5-11, 2007 in response to request submitted by the FSM Social Security Administration.

C.B. 15-52 was referred to the Committee on Health, Education and Social Affairs (HESA) chairmed by Senator Joseph J. Urusemal of Yap.

As stated in Committee Report No 15-166, several amendments were made to Title 53 of the FSM Code which established the FSM Social Security Administration Program (FSMSSA). The amendments were intended to bring more financial stability to the FSMSSA by increasing collections and decreasing the amount of unfunded liabilities.

The Committee cited some contributing factors to FSMSSA's financial problems which include: (1) recent governmental reforms in the States of Chuuk and Kosrae; (2) the closure of some major businesses in the FSM such as the Garment Factory in Yap; and (3) some beneficiaries have exceeded their contributions yet continue to receive benefit payments.

Despite opposition from the workforce and particularly from Pohnpei, the Committee recommended passage of the bill which passed Congress on February 4, 2009, and is now awaiting President's action.

Pohnpei Legislature passed L.R. 35-09 expressing disappointment of the passage of the bill on behalf of Pohnpei, a copy of which was sent to President Mori. Pohnpei Business Association also sent its recommendation supporting Pohnpei Legislature's position.

President Mori has 30 days to act on the bill which will end on March 11, 2009. The President has the prerogative of approving the bill, disapproving and returning it to Congress with his comments, or letting it become law without his signature.

We, the undersigned, call on President Manny Mori to disapprove C.B. No. 15-52 and return it to Congress for more comprehensive study of the FSMSSA. The study should include performance and financial audit of the over all FSMSSA and on the performance of the individual branch offices.

The long-term sustainability of FSMSSA is widely supported by current and future beneficiaries of the program. Every effort should be made to ensure that the program in sustainable and that intended beneficiaries are not penalized by having to increase quarters from 39 to 50 to be "fully insured" and to increase retirement age from 60 to 65.

The life span of Micronesians do not justify increasing retirement age to 65. The rationale of retiring people at 60 is to let them be able to do things on their own to enjoy their retirement and to allow the young, educated Micronesian to enter the workforce.

C.B. 15-52 work against this rationale. Additionally, Congress did not attempt to find solutions to the external factors that contributed to problems that led to the introduction of the bill. The Committee Report did not explain clearly the public hearings held on the bill in the various states and the position of each State on the bill.

The amendment to Section 603 (9) to clarify who may be an "employer" may well discourage people who wish to invest in a corporate entity for "limited liability" protection. If this bill becomes law, the president and shareholders of the corporation with 30% interest will be jointly and severally liable. This is certainly not creating a favorable investment climate in FSM.

Based on the foregoing, Pohnpei Concerned Citizens Forum respectfully submits this Petition to support our request that you disapprove C.B. No. 15-52 and return it to Congress to conduct more comprehensive, in depth study of FSMSSA to ensure its long-term sustainability with least burden on the current and potential beneficiaries.

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The Requesting dissapproval of C.B. No. 15-52 petition to His Excellency, Presidend Manny Mori was written by Herman Semes and is in the category Civil Rights at GoPetition.