Senators say SSS executives’ P1 million bonus in bad taste; GCG to determine ‘legality and propriety’ of grant
- Category: Economy
09 Oct 2013
- Written by Mia M. Gonzalez
A senator will ask the Governance Commission for Government-Owned and -Operated Corporations (GCG) to determine the “legality and propriety” of the grant of incentive bonus for officials and employees of the Social Security System (SSS).
Responding to questions, Sen. Francis Escudero and other senators said in separate statements that the grant of the bonuses is ill-timed, since the SSS has just announced an increase in its contribution rate.
“The timing is really bad given their recent announcement that members’ contributions will be increased. I will ask that the GCG look into the legality and propriety of this bonus given that it is the GCG, by law, that is charged with the function of supervising/regulating GOCCs such as the SSS,” Escudero said.
Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito asked, “How could they reward their officials when in fact there is a big clamor of poor performance in terms of services to its members?”
Ejercito said SSS members have complained of difficulty in claiming their monthly pensions, among others.
Sen. Grace Poe said that while a performance-based bonus “is a good and valid policy,” the bonus system should consider feedback from its members.
“I think the leadership must adopt a 360-degree scorecard that should include the satisfaction or positive feedback from its members regarding services rendered as part of performance target and assessment upon which the determination of the bonus will be based,” Poe said.
She also said the level of the bonus “must be reasonable” since the recipients are public servants.
Sen. Nancy Binay said she failed to see the “moral dimension” of the “fat bonuses.”
“SSS members are hard up and can’t even get their loans on time. The bonuses they get actually come from the hard-earned money of SSS members,” Binay said.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said the SSS bonus “leaves a bad taste in the mouth at this point in time” but cannot say for now whether the grant of bonuses is valid or not since he has not seen all the details yet.
He said what can be done for now is to have a periodic review of the charters of GOCCs like the SSS, particularly their power to increase the rate of contributions.
“Congress authorized the board to increase the contributions of members. Should there be limitations?…That’s one thing that we can look into,” Recto said.
Workers belonging to the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Wednesday rejected the “justification” presented SSS President Emilio S. de Quiros for the “fat bonuses” received by the agency’s top officials.
The group said the “excuses” of top officials of the agency is “unacceptable.”
“The main thing here is that SSS executives are handling workers’ money—money that’s paid for by workers’ sweat, tears and blood. As long as SSS members suffer from meager wages, contractual employment, violation of rights, and delayed and meager benefits, the agency’s executives do not have any right to amass huge sums from the workers’ money,” Jerome Adonis, SSS campaigns officer of KMU said in a statement.
The KMU said the P1-million bonus received by eight of the nine members of the board of directors of SSS, including de Quiros for 2012, is “immoral.” The bonus for the SSS board of directors represent P40,000 per diem allowance for every meeting attended by the officials. The SSS board of directors are entitled to a maximum of P80,000 a month for two meetings, the maximum allowable allowance allowed under the performance-based bonus system for GOCCs.
SSS employees, on the other hand, got a total of 276 million in bonus which were released in December 2012.
Review, update SSS advance payments
SSS members with advance premiums were advised to review and update their payments in line with the new contribution rate and maximum salary credit (MSC) that will take effect in January 2014.
Under the new contribution schedule, corresponding monthly contribution will be P110 for the minimum MSC of P1,000; P550 for the minimum MSC of P5,000 for overseas Filipino workers; and P1,760 for the maximum MSC of P16,000.
De Quiros underscored the need for self-employed, voluntary and OFW members who have paid in advance their SSS contributions to settle the underpayment that will result from the new prescribed minimum amount of contribution.
De Quiros announced the adjustments in the monthly contribution rate by 0.6 percent or from the current 10.4 percent to 11 percent, as well as the MSC from the current P15,000 to 16,000 starting January at a news conference in Quezon City on Tuesday.
A self-employed or voluntary member who remitted a minimum premium of P104 in advance for January next year will automatically incur an underpayment of P6, while the prescribed minimum contribution of P520 by an OFW will be short by P30.
De Quiros said advance payments less than the required minimum contribution will not be considered unless underpayment is settled.
(With Jonathan L. Mayuga)