A TEACHERS group Friday condemned the P6 million in salaries and allowances given to officials of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), which was reported at the Senate probe, saying they should be accountable for it.

France Castro, secretary general of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), said it is deplorable that officials of the state-run pension fund are being paid such a huge amount of money, while their members - majority of whom are public school teachers - are having difficulty just getting their benefits.

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“Teachers are angered that their contributions have been used to line the pockets of GSIS officials who each received P6 million in 2009 alone,” Castro said.

“Nakakagalit talaga sapagkat doble-doble ang kinakaltas mula sa sahod naming mga miyembro dahil sa mga mapagsamantalang patakaran ng GSIS tulad ng Premium Based Policy at Claims and Loans Interdependency Policy, kaya tumaas din ang kita ng GSIS tapos malalaman mo ang ganito,” she added.

Castro said the GSIS officials should be made accountable for these excesses which were given to them, at the expense of the members.

“We are calling on Congress to enact laws that will enable the scrapping of GSIS policies which are inimical to its members, and to prevent similar policies to be implemented.”

The teachers also called on the government, particularly the Office of the Ombudsman and Commission and Audit (GSIS), to conduct thorough investigation of the GSIS and its officials, and to file appropriate charges against those found guilty.

“We do not want mere reforms in the GSIS policies, we want justice,” Castro said.

It is reported at the Senate Finance Committee hearing on government compensations last Wednesday that 71 percent of what the GSIS earned in 2009 came from its members’ contribution and loan payments.

GSIS executive vice president for finance Benedicto Arcinas said the GSIS earned P96.1 billion in 2009 — P56 billion in contributions; P12.3 billion in loans. Only P25.2 billion or 29 percent of the total 2009 GSIS profits came from investments.

The compensation package received by GSIS officials included a midyear financial allowance of P600,000, a 15th month pay of P600,000, productivity bonus equivalent to four months at P600,000 (P2.4 million a year), a Christmas representation allowance of P250,000, transportation allowance of P40,000, a representation allowance of P130,000, and an annual medical check-up worth P50,000.

Senator Franklin Drilon, whose committee on finance is spearheading the probe on excessive perks being enjoyed by officials of government owned and controlled corporations (GOCC), said the amount was unjustifiable.

GSIS, DepEd ink agreement

In a related development, GSIS said it would help provide assistance, including technical means to the Department of Education (DepEd) to resolve the teachers’ long-standing complaints.

GSIS Chairman Daniel Lacson said the agreement to resolve the long-standing complaints of teachers was reached in a series of dialogue with DepEd officials recently.

Undersecretary for Finance and Administration Francisco Varela and Assistant Secretary Reynaldo Laguda who represented Education Secretary Armin Luistro led the dialogue.

“We in the GSIS have initiated discussions with DepEd officials in light of finally putting to rest teachers’ concerns, particularly complaints on their service records,” Lacson said.

A panel has also been formed headed by Varela and GSIS Executive Vice President for Operations Consuelo Manansala to work on resolving all issues raised by the teachers.

During the dialogue, the two government agencies agreed to make a model arrangement, which calls for the pension fund to provide IT technical assistance to DepEd.

“The IT technical assistance will include, but is not limited to, the provision of computer hardware and software,” Lacson added.

In 2005, the GSIS and the DepEd, which comprise 40 percent of the entire membership of the pension fund, entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the purpose of updating teachers service records.

Teachers alone accounted for P375 million monthly contributions or P4.5 billion annually to the state-managed pension fund.

Various teachers groups such as the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA) and the Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) have long complained of their problems with the GSIS ranging from negligent record keeping to the automatic deduction of arrears.

The GSIS has blamed the problem on alleged faulty software supplied by international firm IBM and its local contractor for their computerization program, a charge the company has denied.

The GSIS last year has filed a case against IBM before the Pasay City regional trial court. (AH/Sunnex)