August 30, 2010 in national
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY – The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) urged the administration of Benigno Aquino III to heed to their calls to bail them out of their woes regarding the Government Security Insurance System (GSIS).
ACT Secretary General France Castro said that policies were approved and implemented through mere board resolutions when Winston Garcia was the President and General Manager of GSIS. Castro said that these policies like the Premium-Based Policy and the Claims and Loan Interdependency Program (CLIP) were unlawful and caused hardship on the GSIS members.
According to Castro, the GSIS arbitrarily deducts from the social security benefits and any loan proceeds of the members the premium contributions under the Premium-Based Policy were not remitted by their employers to the said government agency.
“The GSIS Act states that it is the obligation of the government agency concerned to remit said premiums to the GSIS, just as it is the duty of the GSIS to collect premiums from these agencies. This is tantamount to punishing us members twice. It is not our fault if our respective agencies did not remit on time. The law states that the agency heads should be penalized in these cases,” said Castro.
The CLIP is another forced deduction scheme wherein obligations which are not yet due or are covered by a separate contract, like mortgage contracts, are deducted from the benefits and loan proceeds of GSIS members.
Castro said the members have long suffered and many of their co-teachers and personnel who are already retirees, those who died and those who are still in service are victims of the malpractices in the GSIS.
“And it is ironical that while we sacrifice and cannot get on time what is rightfully due us as claims, the administration and employees of GSIS get monthly salaries and yearly bonuses and benefits that are extravagantly high,” said Castro.
Castro said the new administration has promised reforms and has also pledged to take the right path or his “daang matuwid” and correct malpractices in the government. “We therefore ask him to act on our demands so that the GSIS will serve as a reliable and just institution of government employees like us public school teachers and personnel,” added Castro.
The demands of ACT include: the appointment of genuine representatives of public school teachers, government employees and retirees in the GSIS Board. Of the 1.2 million members of the GSIS, 538,000 are from the Department of Education.
ACT asks that the public school teachers be rightfully represented by a teacher leader who will ensure adequate and active participation in the policy-making process that affect the benefits and interests, especially of the public school teachers who are GSIS members; Pnoy to advise GSIS to immediately refund all illegally deducted from the members; the investigation and prosecution of Winston Garcia and his cohorts regarding the proper use of GSIS funds and in the implementation of unlawful policies that have caused untold sufferings to the GSIS members and to recall and scrap court charges and suits filed by Winston Garcia against those who questioned and criticized his unlawful acts and policies.
An example of this is the five counts of libel suit filed against ACT Chairperson and now Representative-elect of the ACT Teachers Partylist, Congressman Antonio Tinio.
Castro said they are hopeful that the President will listen and act on their request. ACT is now spearheading a signature campaign regarding the issues.
On September 3, ACT will pay a courtesy call and will seek a dialogue with Aquino in Malacañang as they will present the signed petitions. The ACT Metro-Baguio will also hold a signature campaign and a program at the People’s Park from 3 pm to 5 pm. # nordis.net