People's outrage on the SSS officials' excessive pay?

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - January 22, 2016 - 9:00am

The whole nation is angered by the news about the SSS executives' outrageous salaries, perks, and bonuses. Compared to other public officials with much higher responsibilities, the SSS officials have paid themselves with compensation packages that are inversely proportionate to the levels of their performance. Whilst no less than the Commission on Audit has revealed that the SSS has 325 billion uncollected projected revenues in one year alone. It has also been reported that the SSS collection efficiency is pegged at an embarrassing 38 percent only. And yet, Congressman Augusto Syjuco of Iloilo is supposedly poised to charge SSS officials for rewarding their own mediocrity with more than 116 million bonuses and perks for only 34 top officials in one year alone.

The COA also declared that the SSS could have earned revenues at the whopping total amount of 198.118 million in 2014 alone out of rentals for 102 units of luxurious condominium owned by the SSS. The COA is said to have determined that those condo units are worth no less than 17.956 billion (it is billion, not million) but the SSS officials have allowed such very valuable prime properties to lay idle as non-performing assets. We should bear in mind that the SSS has been maintaining such valuable assets at very high costs. If this is the kind of performance that they have, then why are top officials of such an inept, inefficient and low-performing agency being paid with indecently high salaries and bonuses?

And while they performed with amazing mediocrity, they have the nerves to mislead the president and caused the presidential veto of the approved bill for a minuscule hike in the pension of SSS retirees. While they reward themselves and honor their mediocre performance with multi-million annual compensation, they allege that the P2,000 intended to increase the pittance of retirees' monthly pension would deplete the SSS funds in the year 2029, or some 14 years in the very far horizon. These officials are supposed to be public servants who were sworn to serve the people.

The Philippine Star a few days ago has bannered the SSS story supplemented by the report on the Syjuco charges on supposedly very high levels of pay. The SSS president reportedly received compensation of 4,188,689.36 as chief executive officer and then again, another 2,656,000.00 as member of the Commission or a total of almost seven million in one year alone. This is almost six times higher than the annual salary of the president of the Philippines, which is only 120,000 a month or 1.4 million a year. This SSS president receives a total compensation, is which almost twice bigger than that of the SSS chairman.

As a long-time HR top executive of the country's 3 top conglomerates, I cannot understand why in the SSS there is one executive vice president who receives a total compensation which is much higher than that of the president and CEO. And there are four or five vice presidents whose individual total compensation packages exceed that of the president. Their compensation structures are mysterious and their perks, allowances and bonuses are beyond human comprehension. Whatever it is, they are far, far higher than the more burdened public officials in the bureaucracy.

But, over and above all mysteries, what the SSS cannot convince the people about is why are the SSS officials too stingy when it comes to retirees' pensions, while they are too liberal with their own salaries and monetary privileges. Why are the SSS commissioners always denying claims for workers' death, diseases and disability, while they give themselves too many benefits? Why is the SSS commission allegedly  too unforgiving in foreclosing mortgages involving poor SSS members who are unable to pay loan amortizations, while they supposedly condone big-time loans of very influential businessmen? The people need to know the truth. They have the right to know. The truth is what matters most.


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