In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July 2010, President Aquino lambasted the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) board for giving themselves hefty bonuses while its rank and file had to contend to meager paychecks and its customers have to wait in line just to get water.
He said “umupo ka lang sa Board of Trustees at Board Committee meeting, katorse mil na. Aabot ng nobenta’y otso mil ito kada buwan. May grocery incentive pa sila na otsenta mil kada taon”, referring to the allowances that each MWSS board member gets.
“Hindi lang iyon. May mid-year bonus, productivity bonus, anniversary bonus, year- end bonus at financial assistance. May Christmas bonus na, may additional Christmas package pa,” the Chief Executive said in his first SONA.
Surprisingly, after three years in office, Mr. Aquino is singing a different tune when it comes to giving bonuses to government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) under his administration.
A few weeks ago, reports came out that the Social Security System (SSS) board, headed by its President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio De Quiroz, had awarded themselves a little over P1 million each as performance bonus in 2012.
Almost all of the SSS members, including the rank and file employees, were up in arms upon learning of the bonuses even if the agency has yet to improve its services.
Many have complained about the long queues for registration of first time members, the never-ending wait for the approval of individual loans and benefits, and the unbelievable red tape on the processing of pensions of retirees.
In an interview shortly before his state visit to South Korea last week, Pres. Aquino justified the bonuses given to SSS top officials saying, “papaano kung maganda naman ang performance nun in terms of binabawasan yung losses? Kawawa naman yung mga nagpe-perform ng mabuti.”
Either Mr. Aquino was ill-advised or he does not have any idea what’s happening at the pension fund agency as he added, “the solidity of the (SSS) fund has been addressed through the efforts of the board and the personnel management of SSS.”
Huh??? “Ano raw”??? It would be wise Mr. President if you ask or research first before opening your mouth so that you would not sound stupid!
How the heck can SSS have a solid fund when it is asking for an increase of the contribution of its members in January next year from 10 percent to eleven percent deductible from their paychecks?
Mr. President, de Quiroz admitted last month that by 2037, the benefits and pensions of retirees may be affected if members’ premiums are not increased. In short, the SSS is not making money, for heaven’s sake! So why give bonuses to these nincompoop officials at SSS?
If its members do not get any bonuses or incentives, then it’s just proper that the bosses at SSS should not get a cent more for running the agency. After all, working in government service is a sacrifice for the love of country and people.
Most of us wonder, Mr. President, if these officials appointed by you should be entitled to big fat bonuses but those appointed by Gloria Arroyo were not?
FAIR IS FAIR, MR. AQUINO.