With the Social Security System leading the way, the executives and employees of 32 government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) are asking the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) for a performance bonus based on the alleged improvement of their agencies’ financial standing last year.
As reported by ABS-CBN, the government corporations that were the first to seek a bonus on top of their paychecks are: the Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.(Pagcor), the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), and the National Food Authority (NFA).
This petition would not be outrageous and immoral, if it were not being bannered by the SSS, an agency that has been standing at the center of controversy since the start of the year, because of President Aquino’s veto of the pension hike bill.
The public would not be agitated by the issue if the commission that will pass upon the petition had a better record for probity and professionalism than the Governance Commission.
Since the commission was established by Republic Act No. 10149 (RA No. 10149) in 2011, the GCG has ostensibly served as the “central advisory, monitoring, and oversight body with authority to formulate, implement and coordinate policies” governing government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs).
Havens for cronyism and patronage politics
Up to a point, the commission served as a vehicle for the generation of funds that could be used for promoting economic growth through the operations of GOCCs that are consistent with the national development policies and programs of the nation.
But then the GOCCs were quickly transformed by President Aquino and his administration into havens for cronyism and a tool for patronage politics. They were used to reward protégés, relatives and friends with high-salaried positions.
The GCG became a rubber stamp for the approval of unconscionable salaries and bonuses of GOCC officials.
No two corporations have been moreemblematic of the practice than the SSS and the GSIS, where huge salaries and bonuses have been freely given by their governing boards with the approval of the GCG.
In the case of the SSS, the commission never met a salary and bonus request that it did not like.
Members of its board and top executives were rewarded with compensastion packages that sought to rival what highly profitable private corporations were paying their top executives.
Through intrepid research by one of our columnists, the Manila Times published last February a Commission on Audit report that listed the 2014 salaries of SSS executives, which totalled P117 million in one year. It turned out that the official with the highest compensation was earning P6 million a year from the SSS. Her chief qualification: being a crony and friend of a top administration figure.
It was the SSS board which heavily argued against the payment of the pension hike for retirees. Yet this same board has never had any compunction in rewarding themselves with bonuses and fat salaries from SSS funds.
In 2012, the GCG approved more than P10 million in “performance-based bonus” for the SSS board members. Now for 2015, SSS executives led by SSS president Emilio de Quiros are seeking performance bonuses totaling millions based on 2015 operations.
In leading this petition,. De Quiros should be ashamed of himself and should apologize to SSS members. According to the latest research findings, de Quiros is being paid by SSS members, who are the real owners of the pension fund, the sum of P 7.7 million per year.
All that money for his leadership and management?
SSS is only one example of the abuse of public power and unconscionable use of funds in government corporations.
We say the looting must stop. And it should begin with the rejection of the demand for performance bonuses.
With a government as incompetent as the Aquino administration, giving these performance bonuses is an insult to the Filipino public.