Senators lambast SSS, PhilHealth execs on bonuses-A A +A
Thursday, October 17, 2013
SENATOR Grace Poe on Wednesday asked both Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) and the Social Security System (SSS) executives to consider the present situation of the country that was hit by the recent earthquake and typhoon.
The appeal of the senator came after it was reported that the two agencies insisted that they have good reasons to give themselves fat bonuses.
The SSS executives reportedly gave themselves P1 million bonus each while managers of the PhilHealth and some of their employees will be giving themselves a total bonus of P1.5 billion.
"Bonuses are granted to officers and employees of GOCCs over and above their monthly salaries. Whatever bonuses granted must be reasonable taking into account the financial health and long term viability of the institution vis a vis the full and efficient delivery of services to its members," Poe said.
Both the SSS and PhilHealth will be raising their premium rates next year.
"We must bear in mind that PhilHealth and SSS funds mostly come from members' contributions to be prudently managed and enhanced for their benefit." Poe said.
For his part, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said this is the right to time to consider helping one another specially that the whole nation is now facing turbulence due to the recent devastation in various parts of the country.
"Huwag po natin isipin ang sariling kapakanan. Ang dami po natin kababayan na hindi halos makabili kahit 1 kilo ng bigas o kahit 1 lata ng sardinas. Baka pwedeng isantabi muna ninyo ang bonus n'yo dahil mas kinakailangan ng taong bayan ang bawat sentimo ng pera at tulong natin na maibibigay sa mga nasalanta ng lindol at mga bagyo na nagdaan," Trillanes said in an interview.
Senator President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto also advised the SSS officials to consider the disappointment and anger of the people with the PDAF (priority development assistance fund) scams and self-dealing by public officials. Oversized bonuses are just not acceptable at this time, Recto said.
No less than the Commission on Audit confirmed that PhilHealth's system of tracing intended beneficiaries has gotten so bad that last year, only P109.916 million was refunded to members accounting for a 0.17 percent of the total refundable funds.
Also in its 2012 audit report, COA revealed that PhilHealth since 2007 had failed to reimburse P250.25 million worth of claims by members who had fallen ill and who had required medical treatment.
The report also stated that the said the agency had not exerted efforts to solve the problem of unclaimed checks and refunds accumulations.
COA said PhilHealth cited the "lack of manpower and computers used exclusively for unclaimed refunds" as one of reasons for the failure to deliver them to beneficiaries.
It was also stated in the COA report that the rate of unclaimed benefits has worsened in the last five years.
The unclaimed checks for PhilHealth totaled P5.14 million in 2007, P93.009 million in 2009, P161.21 million in 2010 and P223.46 million in 2011.
COA reportedly criticized the PhilHealth management for paying its officials and employees P1.45 billion in various bonuses and allowances in 2012 despite repeated warning that these had no legal basis.
Meanwhile, retired SSS Vice President Horace Templo, who served as the institution's chief actuarial for many years, said the GCG (Governance Commission for GOCCs) seem unaware of the actuarial issues that play an important part in the operations of the SSS.
"Performance is not a matter of having high collections. For every peso collected there is an attached liability, which is like a time bomb that can explode in the future," Templo said.
What the SSS needs are "quality contributions" and programs that can lessen future liabilities, which the GCG seems to know nothing about, Templo said.
Templo said the GCG should disclose to the public the salary of SSS President and Chief Executive Emilio de Quiros, who has admitted receiving per diems as ex-officio member of the Social Security Commission. (Camille P. Balagtas/Sunnex)