Compel SSS to open books, government told-A A +A
Thursday, October 10, 2013
HOUSE lawmakers on Thursday called on the Aquino government to compel the Social Security System (SSS) to open its books following the planned increase in members' monthly contribution rate by 0.6 percent despite the hefty bonuses received by the SSS board of directors.
Gabriela party-list Representatives Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus urged immediate action on a House resolution calling for an investigation into the financial management situation of the SSS.
"Amid reports of fat bonuses and proposals to increase workers’ contributions it is but high time that we scrutinize how the SSS has been managing its finances. Why does the SSS need to impose this increase in workers’ contributions?" Ilagan said.
Earlier this week, SSS announced that the monthly rate of 10.4 percent will be increased to 11 percent by January next year.
In his fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona), President Benigno Aquino III hinted at increasing the rate of monthly contribution of SSS members in order to lessen the unfunded liabilities of the social insurance program. The raise will enable SSS to generate some P141 billion up to 2014.
"Through the years, the SSS has become more of a burden to workers and retirees rather than an institution that can be relied on for their benefits. And what is Malacanang doing? Instead of probing this, they are backing the hike in contributions," the lawmakers said.
Bayan Muna party-list Representative Neri Colmenares earlier said the SSS board of directors issued more than P10 million bonuses for themselves.
In House Resolution 369, Colmenares, along with Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate, sought a House committee on good government and public accountability investigation on the P10-million bonus of SSS board members.
"Considering that the SSS Board may again get another round of bonus in 2013 and the Governance Commission may allow another round of possibly undeserved or unconscionable bonuses to other GOCCs (government-owned or -controlled corporations) this year, there is a need to urgently review the system of allocating these bonuses, and the grounds or basis of awarding these benefits to avoid abuse," the resolution said.
Citing the performance-based incentive system set by the Governance Commission for GOCCs, SSS president and chief executive officer Emilio de Quiros Jr., confirmed that he, along with seven other members of the SSS board, received at least P1 million each as bonuses for good performance last year.
Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr. said that P1-million bonus is "too much" considering that SSS members complain of receiving their monthly pension late.
"As you will remember when President Aquino started his term of office, one of his concerns is fat bonuses and allowances of the officers of the board of directors of GOCCs. Therefore, I was really surprised when I came to know that P1 million is given to each of the directors. I support the House inquiry," Barzaga said.
In his first state address, Aquino criticized the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System for rewarding its officials with big bonuses despite problems in the delivery of its services. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)