25 November 2010

Gov’t pension fund chiefs vow to restore trust, regain members’ confidence

“We will earn it one day at a time” 

“We envision GSIS to become the most service-focused agency in government – providing not just any kind of service, but responsive service.”

This was the message of Robert Vergara, President and General Manager of the Government Service Insurance System, as he spoke Tuesday before the officials of the Department of Education-National Employees’ Union (DepEd-NEU), the country’s largest union of non-teaching personnel, in a forum held in Tagaytay City.

Vergara said the pension fund is working to improve its service delivery to all stakeholders especially teachers, who account for more than half of its membership base. 

He added, “in compliance with the marching order given by the President in his first 100 Days, the new administration will prioritize resolving the various problems of the teaching and non-teaching personnel of the Education Department.” 

The chief of the pension fund cited some of the measures being carried out by the agency to attain service-responsiveness:

1. Reduced the number of members’ unposted payments and unreconciled account balances from P30 billion in September to P3.8 billion as of 2 November 2010. 

2. Improved access to GSIS services by tapping the Land Bank of the Philippines as additional depository bank to expand services for members and deploying more GW@Ps kiosks. By the first quarter of 2011, Land Bank will start servicing pensioners and gradually expand its services to include all GSIS members. At the same time, GSIS will deploy additional 500 GW@Ps Kiosks in line with the enrollment of members and pensioners to the Unified Multipurpose Identification (UMID) - compliant eCard.

“No Secrets”

For his part, Daniel Lacson, Jr., Board Chairman, said the new GSIS Board will be consultative, transparent and service-focused. “We will engage our stakeholders wherever they are and we will always consult them. In whatever we do, there will be no secrets and we will ensure we can defend in Plaza Miranda, any new policy, the Management and the Board will implement.” 

Lacson added GSIS is undertaking a comprehensive review of all the reform measures implemented in the past and evaluating their impact to the stakeholders. “ We have asked the different GSIS offices to tell us the history of these reforms so we can understand the reasons behind them.”

Vergara pointed out the review is all about “restoring the heart and the spirit of RA 8291 (Revised Government Service Insurance Act of 1997) which is to provide the basic social safety net to look after us in our old age.”

The Union presented a total of 21 national issues related to the GSIS’s policies and programs, which included the Premium-based policy, the Claims and Loans Interdependency Policy, and the recent move of the GSIS to put qualifications on the entitlement to survivorship pension. These policies, the Union said should be scrapped in the interest of all GSIS members and pensioners. 

Vergara committed that even as Management is finding the solutions to these concerns, their implementation will take some time. “So I ask for your patience and understanding.”

He vowed GSIS “will work tirelessly to regain your confidence and trust. And we will do this the only way I know: we will earn it one day at a time.”

DepED-NEU and GSIS Cooperation 

Atty. Domingo Alidon, national president of the DepED-NEU, said the presence of both the Chairman and PGM to the Forum, ushers a new era of cooperation between the GSIS and the Union. “This is the first time that we hear GSIS officials facing our issues squarely. Gone are the days that we fight GSIS and take our issues to the streets.” 

The DepED-NEU pledged its full support to the new GSIS member-friendly administration. “Nakahanda ang unyon na makipagtulungan sa bagong pamunuan ng GSIS para makahanap ng solusyon sa mga problemang idinulog namin sa kanila. Mag-sasagawa ang unyon ng regular na konsultasyon kasama ang GSIS.”