Senate to probe state insurance, pension funds contributions hike

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Monday, January 6, 2014

A SENATOR on Monday filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the decision of state-controlled pension and insurance funds to increase their respective members' monthly contributions.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto filed Senate Resolution 20 directing the appropriate senate committee to conduct an omnibus assessment and review of the actuarial status of Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-Ibig).

Recto said that the Constitution mandates Congress to give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of the people to human dignity, reduce social economic and political inequalities and remove inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good.

The SSS board drew flak for rewarding themselves with P9.3 million in bonuses or up to P1 million each.

Employed SSS members will be paying an additional 0.3 percent for their monthly contributions while self-employed members, voluntary and overseas Filipino workers, will be paying 0.6 percent more every month.

Employed PhilHealth members who used to pay monthly contribution of P175 will now have to pay P200 to be shared equally with their employers. While self-employed PhilHealth members or individually paying members who used to pay a monthly contribution of P150 are now also required to give P200.

Governance Commission for GOCCs spokesperson Paolo Salvoso confirmed 19 other GOCCs were granted bonuses for hitting at least 90 percent of their income target in 2012, including the Development Bank of the Philippines, GSIS and Land Bank of the Philippines.

Recto said Congress should make an assessment and review the law on government corporations in order to improve the delivery of services to their respective members and contributors.

The senator also insisted on the need to inform well the millions of people who are members and beneficiaries of these funds on the status of their contributions in line with their constitutional right to information.

Recto said the Constitution directs the State to promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all.

"Congress has enacted laws that created pension and insurance funds both for those who work in the public and private sectors that are managed by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Social Security System (SSS) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) for the welfare of the people as well as a socialized housing fund had also been created in the furtherance of the people's welfare, for those employed in the public and private sectors that is being administered by the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) or Pag-IBIG." he noted.

The senator added that it is the duty of the Congress to make sure that the people are not being abuse as well as their constitutional rights.

Recto said there are reports that some of these corporations, if not all of them, have either invested members' funds in the international stock market or employed foreign investment firms to manage their accounts.

The global economy, Recto said has been volatile during the past few years as an off-shoot of the global economic crisis of 2008 that adversely affected international stock markets.

He said that there is need to review the investments made by these government-run corporations to ensure that their funds are safeguarded from the potential effects of the instability of international stock markets.

In addition to this, the senator said there are concerns on the ability of these companies to pay their obligations to their members.

The delay in the delivery of services and alleged unjust management decisions on various claims for benefits of pensioners and retirees continue to hound these government corporations, Recto said.

The senator also said it is just right to demand for a prompt and efficient delivery of services and for Congress to assess and review the actuarial status o f these pension and insurance funds.

The assessment, Recto added, would allow Congress to determine if there is a need to craft a law that will protect the people particularly the members. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)

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