MANILA - With the Filipino senator receiving roughly P1.625 (US$36,000) a year, the annual combined compensation of P6 million (US$133,333) each member of the Board of Trustees of the government-run Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
This disclosure was enough for Sen. Franklin Drilon, a former Senate President, to conduct a probe into the fat remunerations as head the Senate finance committee.
He also strongly denounced the disproportionate income as “excessive and totally unjustified” during a hearing on salaries perks granted to board members of state-run companies.
Citing a document from the state pension fund, the senator said each GSIS board member gets P600,000 (US$13,333) in mid-year allowance, a similar amount for 15th month pay, P2.4 million (US$53,333) in productivity bonus, P250,000 (US$5,555) in Christmas representation, and P40,000 (US$888) in transportation allowance.
The amount, which was confirmed by Consuelo Manansala, officer-in-charge and executive vice-president for operations of the GSIS, also covers representation stipend, allowance for every board meeting, cash gift, and other privileges such as annual check-up and car loan, among others.
Drilon also called the attention of the Senate to Memorandum Order No. 20, which mandates that hikes in state executives’ pay should not exceed twice the regular pay of Cabinet secretaries.
The congressional hearing was precipitated by revelations that GSIS members, a state pension fund with over half a trillion pesos in asset base, have been complaining of delayed posting of premiums and loan payments, meager benefits and slow processing of claims and loans which, the senator said, was “totally unacceptable.”
In a related development, Sen. Drilon has asked the Commission on Audit, the state auditing agency, to carry out “special audit” on the P10 million (US$222,222) extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses (EME) spent by the Clark Development Authority’s (CDC) for fiscal year 2009.
The lawmaker questioned the liquidation through certification that was made on the funds, adding there were no official receipts that were submitted to support the EME expenses.
“If it is not part of their compensation then liquidate it properly,” Drilon stated. “These are not intelligence funds and therefore a certification should not be the basis of liquidation.”
He also mentioned the need for transparency in government expenditures, stressing that “this practice wherein funds are liquidated only through certifications without receipts being submitted” should be stopped.