Wednesday, October 13, 2004

NR1013:Rep. Beltran questions SSS policies

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release October 13 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

SSS hikes contributions without expanding/improving benefit packages;
billions spent on operating expenses should be audited - Rep. Beltran

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today trained his sights on the Social
Security System (SSS), questioning its recent resolutions to hike contributions
by 22% and grant amnesty for delinquent, short-term loans to allow members to
settle their liabilities without paying the penalties during the amnesty period
October 2004 to September 30, 2005. He also questioned the billions the agency
spent on operating expenses.

"To support the agency and maintain the lifestyle of its executives, and in
anticipation of higher electricity costs, telephone and water rates, and costs
of gasoline and fuel etc and the suspension of subsidies from the national
government, the SSS intends to increase members' contributions by 22% gradually
over a six-year period without expanded/improved benefit packages for private
sector workers and self-employed persons. The SSS tries to justify that the
contribution increase is to advance and expand assistance to the pension fund's
25,375,636 individual members and the 723,350 employers; it should be pointed
out that the latter do not receive any benefits from the SSS, and without
improved benefit packages, the members will not actually benefit any," he said.

Beltran also said that the amnesty is unfair to members who did not avail of
any loan from the agency. He said that if these liabilities are legitimate and
actually from SSS members, collection would not be a problem at all because
these accounts can be easily collected later on through deductions against the
initial pensions of retires as is usually done by the agency. "If the SSS is in
such a haste to generate money, why will it write off penalties and clean the
agency books of these collectible accounts? There will be less initial pension
money to disburse when these delinquent accounts are deducted from the initial
pensions of retirees - unless these loans were availed of by debtors who are
not SSS members. If this is the case, it would be in the interest of the SSS
members to know who the SSS administration has been loaning the funds of the
agency to," he said.

Beltran said that the SSS employee-force is enough to handle the books on
overdue accounts of members. He said that the SSS should just continue
computing the interest and penalties, compounded yearly until the members
retire. The process will generate income to the agency at a rate higher than
the rate of return on earnings it reports to the media.

In the meantime, the veteran labor leader questioned the compensation of the SSS
chairman and president. "According to newspaper reports. The SSS chairman gets
an annual salary plus allowance of P6,100,000 and the President gets a monthly
salary of P500,000. The rest of the SSS' top officials get equally fat monthly
salaries. The prevailing monthly salaries of the officers are exclusive of
fringe benefits plus bonuses amounting to much more than their monthly salary

There are 4,067 SSS employees as of March 2004. Many of them are political
appointees with top positions, but with limited terms at the pleasure of Pres.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Beltran also questioned the total operating expenses of the agency.

Expenses (In billions)
Benefits paid to SSS members
Retirement pension P9.101
Death benefits 7.496
Disability assistance 1.503
Members Benefits 1.203
Funeral grants 0.938
Financial help to members (w/illnesses) 0.743
Others (not specified) 0.743
Operating expenses P2.717 billion.

"It appears that since 88.554% of the expenses of the agency was spend for the
various benefits of SSS members, it is assumed that the payroll, allowances,
perks, etc of SSS employees would be the biggest item forming part of the
agency's operating expenses, but it's not. The P2.717 billion used up for
operating expenses is questionable. Assuming that the 4,067 employees of the
SSS has not increased since March 2004, and that the lowest monthly average
rate of each employee except the Chairman and president is P17,000,00, the
supposed money spent for the payroll of SSS employees for the six-month period
is calculated only at P421 million," he pointed out.

Chairman - (P6,1000,000 annually divided by 2) P3,050,000; President( P500,000
monthly x 6) P3,000,000; employees (4,065xP17,000x6 months) 414,630,000.
This all amounts to only P420,680,000 without the allowances.

Other expenses attributed to the agency's operating expenditures are the
1. Travelling & transporation; 2) electricity and water bills; 3)Telephones and
communication; 4)Gasoline and Fuel; 5) Car repairs, insurance and registration
fees; 6)Professional and consultant fees including other outside services;
7)Advertising and promotions; 8)Repairs and maintenance of building, computers
and other office equipment; 9) Office supplies and stationary; 10)Depreciation
of buildings; 11) Depreciation of motor vehicles ; 12) depreciation of
furniture and fixtures; etc.

"Workers now doubt the SSS and the benefits it offers. The SSS bpension cannot
provide fpr the the daily and medical needs of pensioners. In short, workers
who became members of the system in 1957 and assured of receiving reasonable
pensions when they retired now question the mantle of social protection the SSS
is saying it provides. On the other hand, the Trust Executives and the managers
including the stewards of the pension fund run the SSS as if they own it,
knowing that the SSS charter was fashioned and made to the effect that the
salaries and compensation of the executives, managers, etc. are exempt from the
coverage of the law on salary standard set for government officials. They can
adjust their monthly salary rates and other compensation, to the rates
comparable with that for the same position in the private sector," he


Post a Comment

<< Home