House probe of SSS bonus sought
MANILA, Philippines—Militant lawmakers on Thursday sought an inquiry into the Social Security System’s (SSS) practice of giving big bonuses to its board members, even as an increase in membership premiums looms amid a failure to provide adequate service.
Bayan Muna party-list lawmakers said Thursday that with the SSS’s failures and delinquencies, its directors did not merit performance bonuses.
In a resolution calling for a House inquiry into the SSS bonuses, Bayan Muna Representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate noted that the SSS board had failed to collect a significant amount of overdue contributions.
“The SSS board has failed to collect billions in unremitted premiums from delinquent employers, which not only means that they have no right to increase premium contributions but also that they have no right to a good performance bonus,” they said in their joint resolution.
They pointed out that the bonuses were taken from SSS corporate funds as the board was about to increase membership premiums in order to generate funds to cover the agency’s liabilities.
SSS service also leaves a lot to be desired, they said.
According to the lawmakers, many members experienced delays in the processing of their applications for disability, pension, funeral and death benefits, with the delays lasting months and even years.
“This delay in service should be charged against the management and not its employees because the board is responsible, and therefore accountable, for the services rendered, or lack thereof,” they added.
The lawmakers said that even as the SSS admitted that the pension of retired senior citizens fell below the poverty line, it did not, and has refused to support, proposed legislation in the House of Representatives to increase the pensions, on the ground that it did not have enough funds.
They also said that in 2010, SSS executives received P200 million in “undeserved” retirement benefits, while in 2011, they said there were incidents of overcharging in members’ loans amounting to billions, which had yet to be reimbursed.
The SSS chief earlier said the bonuses that the board members got, at least P1 million each, were given pursuant to the performance-based incentive system of the Governance Commission for GOCCs. In line with this system, SSS employees also got bonuses amounting to P276 million.—Leila B. Salaverria
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