Philippine Government Financing Institutions (GFIs) like the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Home Development Mutual Fund (commonly known as PAG-IBIG fund) and the Social Security System (SSS) are exempt from the government Salary Standardization Law (SSL) meaning – they have higher salaries than the other government employees with same work and salary grade. Their Board of Directors are also exempted from the usual rules, the reason why the SSS Board got P1M each and more in bonuses in 2012 and planning for higher bonus in 2013.
Is it legal? Maybe. Is it moral? Definitely not. How do the SSS define morality? I was shocked to find out. Now let me tell you my story.
I am a pensioner of SSS since 2005 and last year for several months my pension was cut off. I went to the main office and learned that they sent a letter to our home address in Bulacan which I was not able to get. Maybe someone took it from the mail box, there are people there who are very interested in our life who resorted to stealing our mail. Another reason is I transfer residence and maybe SSS did not send the letter. Nosy neighbors would surely left it in my mail box if they know it is not that important.
To make the story short, I filled out new data, was asked several questions and required to present documents and government issued identification cards to verify my identity and my relationship with the deceased member. I was required to report for Annual Checking of Pensioners (ACOP). After several months my pension resumed and today I went back to SSS for the ACOP.
Again I was asked to fill out form (with no changes from the previous year) and asked for photo copies of the two government identification cards that I presented (it was the same cards I presented last year since drivers license do not expire in a year). The thing that I do not like was the fact that I was not previously informed that SSS would need (again) those photocopies and since they have no photocopier, I braved the rains going out again and after photocopying which I did while waiting as the rain poured on me, I have to go back in line to submit these papers to the same person who previously interviewed me last year.
I asked why do they have to cut the pension if the wife or husband remarry or has a boyfriend or girlfriend, I was given a question as an answer, she said, “Would it be alright with you if your husband is the pensioner and she has a girlfriend?” I said, yes, it it alright with me since he does have biological needs and we cannot be “moralista” in some things and not on things that really matters”. She said, well that is our policy written here on the forms.
This Moralista Policy was the work of the Board of Directors receiving millions in bonuses aside from other perks. This is the kind of performance they have, and oppressing people through policies depriving that which rightfully belongs to the pensioners as a matter of right. They would deprive beneficiaries of their money just because the pensioner decided to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. There were no increase in the amount of pension with the increase of the cost of living but there is definite increase in the bonuses of the Board. It is a sad and self-serving policy favoring the rich members of the Board and oppressing the poor members.
Lastly, I clarified that next year I need to have photocopies of government issued valid identification card, so that I can have it ready and save time and effort going outside the SSS compound, standing in the roadside under the rain in order to have them photocopied. As I am leaving I talked to old people waiting in line saying they were there since morning and they were asked again for documents they have already submitted and they do not know what else they need to submit. It is hard being poor but this money they are getting have been paid for in advance, in monthly payment from the income of members and when the time comes to get them, the system is unclear and harder on the beneficiaries.
I want to give SSS a @#!%&!! rating on their performance and policies.