The SSS in the Philippines

SSS_Building Inquirer

SSS Building, Manila [Photo Credit: Inquirer]

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By Bill in Oz

My thanks to Society of Honor members for providing information and insight for this article. I would particularly like to thank Edgar, Karl, Mary Grace, Irineo, Chempo, Giancarlo, NHerrera and Caliphman.

________________________

I want to start with a couple of definitions. Knowing what we are talking about is very important.

The “SSS” (Social Security System) in the Philippines is not a welfare program. It is an insurance system. And like every other type of insurance program, the beneficiary’s contributions to the insurance policy determine the benefits. If a beneficiary pays a lot in contributions s/he will get a lot. If s/he has contributed very little, then s/he will get very little. If s/he contributed less than the minimum number of contributions s/he will get bugger all. Stating that another way: those who have given, shall receive; those who have not given, get zip.

This is very different to a national ‘welfare’ based social security program which pays all citizens (and permanent residents) on the basis of their need, not on the basis of what they have contributed. For example, the Australian Social Security system is a welfare based system. All money paid comes from taxes and none from contributions by ‘members’. Any Australian citizen, if unemployed, can seek to be paid unemployment benefits. (This is commonly called the “dole”. Persons who attempt to avoid getting a job and live on the dole are colloquially called “Dole bludgers”. It is no complement!) The application will be assessed on the basis of need. Similarly, a person retiring at 65 can apply for a retirement pension. And the application will be assessed on the basis of need. However if s/he is stinking rich s/he will get nothing. If middling s/he will get middling. And if s/he is in desperate need s/he will get the maximum available. The same process applies for sickness, maternity benefits or unemployment benefits or disability benefits.

In Australia there is also a government regulated joint employee/employer contributory  retirement program. We call it “Superannuation” or ‘Super’. However, all the funds are managed by private corporations. And all employees have (by law) the right to nominate the superannuation fund of their own choice. Superannuation fund companies thus compete with each other for membership by employees. Some superannuation funds are ‘industry funds’ established by trade unions with trade union members on the boards. Finally, Superannuation funds are a huge source of investment money in Australia.

In recent years, the Aquino governmental has started to create a Philippine welfare program. This is the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program” (also known as the Conditional Cash Transfer program). This attempts to offer some minimal care of the very old and very poor by providing 500 pesos a month to the indigent elderly and unmarried mothers. As well as the 500 pesos, these individuals have automatic PhilHealth coverage. However the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program is a program instituted by the current President under his executive powers. It is not part of the regular Phillipines budget. Thus the next President could just decide to end this welfare program.

I mention all these things so all involved in the discussion are able to compare and contrast the various ways that an insurance based system and a welfare based system differ. The comparison helps with evaluations. It also helps avoid confusion.

* * * * * *

The SSS was first proposed by President Roxas in 1947. But he died before he could initiate any legislation. President Quirino then introduced legislation in the early 1950’s. It came into effect in 1958. My guess is that it was modeled on the USA insurance based social security system of the time.

Who is Covered

The SSS ‘insurance’ system in the Philippines is not ‘universal’ for the Philippine workforce. It does not cover government employees and military personnel. They have their own separate systems.

SSS only effectively covers permanent private-sector employees and their families. A ‘permanent’ worker is defined as a worker who has worked continuously in a company for more than 6 months. For such employees, coverage is compulsory by law. Also, in order to gain access to the retirement benefits offered by SSS, a member has to have made monthly contributions for at least 120 months.

There are a large number of workers who are not covered. Almost all casuals, temporary workers and sub-contractors are not members as the law is not enforced for such workers. So almost none are. Peasant farmers and their families are not covered. The multitude of small ‘informal’ family based businesses like sari sari stores are also not covered. As a result, only a small percentage of Filipino workers are covered by the SSS at any one time. One estimate puts the coverage at just 15% of the workforce.

Another problem is that there also are a large number of members who are no longer active members and who no longer make any contributions. Women who have left the workforce because of being mothers form a high percentage of these ‘not active’ members. Others former members have left the Philippines to get work in other countries such as Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, the UK, the USA, and Middle Eastern countries.

Mary Grace commented that there are more than thirty million SSS Members. Two million have retired. Eighteen million are not actively paying members. Only 12 million are active paying members.

What is covered?

The SSS offers members the following benefits: retirement pensions; sickness benefits; maternity benefits, disability benefits and work injury benefits. It does not offer any benefits if a member becomes unemployed. If person is injured, disabled or gets pregnant while unemployed, they are also not covered. An aged person retiring who was a member before becoming unemployed can claim a retirement pension. However, the amount will depend on the value of contributions made while employed. And there is no ‘indexation’ of payments to retired persons to negate the impact of inflation.

How is the SSS funded?

The SSS is not funded by taxes or by the Philippines government even though it is a government statutory authority regulated by law passed by the House and Senate. By law, the SSS is funded by contributions from employers and employees.

Each month, 3.3% of employees’ gross monthly earnings is supposed to be deducted by employers and then forwarded to the SSS. But there is a ‘cap’ at 15,000 pesos earned per month. So the maximum compulsory contribution per person is 499.50 pesos. Employers also contribute an amount equal to 7.07% of an employee’s gross monthly earnings.

Impact of Inflation?

I remember staying in a 2 star hotel for a night in Baguio in 1974. It cost 20 pesos. I stayed in a similar type of hotel last December. The cost per night was 1,350 pesos. The inflation rate is now quite low in the Philippines and the BSP’s monetary policy is now ‘to ensure a low and stable inflation rate conducive with balanced & sustainable economic growth’. But there was significant high inflation over the past 40 years. For example, inflation hit 62.80 % in 1984 when Marcos was in control as the dictator. Poor economic policies during his dictatorship created economic chaos and high inflation.

Many of the 2,000,000 SSS retired pensioners started their working lives about 40 years ago. Wages & salaries and the cost of living were so much, much much lower then. And these people paid contributions to the SS in those times set according to the then current wage & salary levels. I wonder how many of them only paid the required 120 monthly payments in the expectation that this would guarantee their livelihood when retired ?

There has been some minor adjustment upwards by SSS for retired pensioners. Mary Grace mentions a relative who’s monthly pension went up from 1,200 pesos to 1,500 pesos. But SSS has not indexed the contributions made by members to account for the hyper Marcos-created inflation rate of the 1980’s, or the high inflation of the 1990’s, or the period 2007-9. This means that older members have been treated unfairly compared to members who joined in more recent times when inflation was much lower.

More importantly, this inflation was caused by the Filipino government of the time. Grossly irresponsible actions & policies by the Marcos dictatorship caused the high inflation of 1983-5. There is thus a strong equity argument that older SSS members should be compensated by the Philippine government for the impact that high inflation has had on the value of the SSS Insurance scheme policy. I wonder if the Philippine government has ever acknowledged this culpability.

A study done of SSS in 2009 discussed this issue briefly:

“There is also a need to further improve the protection provided to pensioners. At present, pensions are adjusted in an ad hoc manner over time. The value of pensions may be better protected from erosion due to inflation if pensions are adjusted in a systematic manner through inflation indexation.” (Pp16, “Reforming Social Protection Policy: Responding to the Global Financial Crisis and Beyond“)

However nothing has changed since that paper was published.

Consequences

There are some serious consequences for Philippine society from the way this worker Insurance system is structured:

  1. There is no unemployment benefit for anyone in the workforce, whether permanent, casual, temporary or contract. This is a major defect.
  2. Casuals, temporary workers and sub contractors have no coverage at all under the Philippines SSS. If casual employees are injured or disabled at work, they are not covered. Women who get pregnant are not covered. And there is no welfare system to provide for such people. The only option available is to rely on help from family. This is a major defect.
  3. When casuals, temporary workers, or trainees get old, there is no real pension available for them. They may get a little from Aquino’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (CCT). They, again, have to rely on help for everything from family. This is a major defect.
  4. When peasant farmers and their families are injured or become disabled there is no coverage apart from what is granted under Aquino’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (CCT).
  5. Because there is a significant extra employment cost for employers with ‘permanent’ employees, there is a big incentive for employers to avoid hiring permanent employees. Instead there is an incentive to hire ‘endos’ (casuals), temporaries or ‘trainees’ for 5 months and then let them go with the more skilled or ‘valued’ ones being rehired after a break. This causes churn in the workforce, with constant anxiety. I suggest it also causes loss of job skills. In recent years, permanent employees as a percentage of the workforce has been falling.
  6. The “Cap’ on contributions to SSS at 15,000 pesos has perverse consequences. Hypothetically, it ‘helps’ permanent workers now by limiting what they are compelled to pay. But is this reality? I suggest it is not. The cap prevents individual workers from providing for their own futures by making extra SSS payments. (This is a feature of Superannuation in Australia where such extra contributions can also be tax deductible). More importantly, the cap functions as a ‘get out of jail card’ for employers. They do not have to pay the 7.7% to SSS for permanent employees above the 15,000 peso cap. This reduces labor costs for employers and saves them money.
  7. In these situations, the threat of poverty is all pervading. Anyone with a permanent job is reluctant to leave it unless a better position is being offered. This is true even if the job entails long, unpaid extra hours, or if the employer is abusive. The same is true for workers in casual positions. As Giancarlo commented recently, “I suspect that most lower income working families are really living hand to mouth and not that interested in the long term. The NOW pervades everything.”

* * * * * *

The origin of this blog post was the decision by President Aquino on the 14th of January, 2016, to veto a Congressional bill ordering the SSS to pay the lowest pensioners an additional 2,000 pesos a month. This decision generated a lot of comments and also a lot of information. Aquino’s reason for his veto was that Congress had not passed the complementary bill authorizing the SSS to increase the contributions made by active members and employers. Such a bill was passed in the House of Representatives. But was not passed in the senate. He said that, without such supporting legislation, the SSS would in the long term be forced into bankruptcy.

Many commentators (including myself) suggested that the Senate was being irresponsible in blocking the supporting legislation. I still think this.

However, I also now see that the current impoverished condition of SSS pensioners living on 1,200 or 1,500 pesos a month is not just because of the SSS. It is also a consequence of the catastrophic loss in value of contributions made before and during the period of hyper inflation during the Marcos regime in the 1980’s and also, to a lessor extent, the high inflation during the 1990’s and during Gloria Arroyo’s presidency from 2007 to 2009.

Government actions and policies caused this loss in value of members compulsory contributions. Maybe the government should now recognize this and make amends by allocating funds to compensate for the loss in value.

 

Comments
217 Responses to “The SSS in the Philippines”
  1. Joe America says:

    Nice work, Bill. When MLQ3 shares an article, which he did this on one, you know you hit a home run . . . or whatever they hit in cricket that causes the fans to stand up and cheer.

    • marieta says:

      hi joe. i think you can truly be of help to me and my husband. we are here in nz eight years now and because they are looking at the authenticity of the papers we submitted to them regarding our employers, they are now asking us to submit to them an SSS, Philhealth numbers and BIR accounts. My husband worked as a casual employee in a dairy farm in Lanao in 2007 – 2009 and we don’t know how to explain to them the kind of agreement structure we have in the philippines about casual farmers\workers. that they do not have sss and philhealth numbers and no tax to pay as they they are only paid on the days they are needed …please, help us.

      • Joe America says:

        I have no official capacity to help, marieta. You may wish to seek an attorney’s help if they will not take your statement of fact, in a letter.

      • bill in oz says:

        Marietta I assume they are asking for proof of employment…New Zealand does have casual employment.. But in NZ such employment is documented ..Otherwise the automatic assumption is that someone was hired for cash in hand with no income tax paid etc. And that is illegal in NZ just like Australia..

      • karlgarcia says:

        Marieta,
        I asked for advice from fellow readers and here is one reply from Bert.

        Bert says:
        June 18, 2016 at 8:40 pm
        Here are some ideas that I’m sure can help:

        1. Any one can get an SSS number, even a sidewalk vendor. Procedures: Bring Birth Certificate newly acquired from NSO; go to SSS branch office at East Ave.; accomplish application form for an SSS number then follow the step by step procedure from window X to window X. The final window is a personal interview, if you are a sidewalk vendor state that you are earning P3,000 a month and you will be assessed a monthly contribution of P300, then you will be assigned a number. That will be your permanent SSS number. Bring that number to cashier window No. 1 and pay your initial monthly contribution of P300.00. You are now a full SSS member. If you need to get an SSS ID, accomplish an application form for ID and with your payment receipt go to step 1 and then to Photograph Section. Your SSS ID will be sent to you by slow mail or by courier. Waiting time—3 to 4 months.

        2. For Philhealth membership: Go to the PhilHealth branch nearest your residence. A valid ID is required. Accomplish the application form. Pay the required amount. Issuance of PhilHealth ID depends on availability of supply. That’s it.

        3. For BIR Tax Account NUmber (TIN): I heard it’s easy to get a TIN at any BIR branch office.

        If the NZ authority is asking for records of employment with their former employers (Dairy farm in Lanao) in the Philippines such as monthly SSS contributions provided by the former employers then I guess that could be a big problem if non existing.

        I hope this help.

  2. troy says:

    Salamat, at nagkaroon ng kaliwanagan tungkol dito sa SSS, at sa marami pang mga bagay na pinag uusapan dito sa blog na ito.

  3. Bill in Oz says:

    “It’s gone for 6 ” in cricket !! Umm good thanks Joe.

    I have been thinking more the past few days..One idea may have merit..But I will wait now and see what everyone else thinks..

    • Bill, this is a great article… shows your political Labor background… in Continental Europe one would say Social Democrat, but among Filipino leftists who are nearly all Communists (Walden Bello is an exception, but he is more on the Attac, Occupy, No Logo kind of thinking and is in fact internally quoted by them) “Social Democrat” is a true cuss word… like “Yellow Trade Union” was a cuss word among “Red Trade Unionists” during Germany’s Weimar Republic – yellow stood for “management collaborators” while red stood for those willing to shed blood for the cause, therefore there is still the unfortunate connotation of cowardice associated with the color yellow until now… but the thing is that modern Labor acknowledges capitalisms role in creating jobs, while making sure workers get their share, not just relying on trickle down which often does not happen. Now to the article’s points…

      1. Of course the poor rely mainly on the family, because it is the only true safety net. This is one reason for the many children. The gamble is that they can get jobs to take care of the rest – as OFWs, in Manila, or even just in Angeles City as prostitutes in the worst case.

      2. Those who get richer also rely mainly on the family. They take care of their own FIRST. There is little sense of national community. I have an article on that in my blog called “Ano ang Pilipinas”. Karl’s answer was “kanya-kanyahan talaga” – really everyone for himself…

      3. Some of those who make it to the top retain the mentality of the poor. My brother-in-law, a true Cockney from Northern London, told me that those who grow up knowing hunger or dispossession always have a scar, and may act like they are still hungry all their lives. Imelda Marcos is an example of this. So are the Binays. So was the late grandfather of my brother-in-law, who was born in a slum in Northern London and often was a bit of a crook. Even if he was a nice man, but he fought to give his family a better life – in many ways…

      In my blog article “The Road Ahead” I wrote about different groups in the Philippines that are on different stages when it comes to the Maslow hierarchy of needs. Binay and Duterte supporters may be more strongly focused on financial and physical security, Level 2. Finally only a real social security system that removes the insecurity will be able to prevent Binay and his kind from being appealing to the people. Only an effective police and justice system will prevent Duterte and his kind from being appealing to the people. They all aren’t that stupid, maybe just uneducated and therefore unable to articulate their needs that well. Even if Roxas wins, he will have to address these issues – or other Binays and Dutertes will come in 2022. German social security was started by Bismarck – to counter Socialism…

  4. karl garcia says:

    Well written Bill. MLQ3’s endorsement is a stamp of approval,he us a respected blogger,journalist and he is part of the Presidential Communication staff.

    Thanks for the background of the Australian system.

    I guess,I will repost this article here.

    ——
    Corporate Watch
    Amelia H. C. Ylagan

    See what you’ve done! At first you only wanted to be good-looking in the magic mirror of public opinion, a critical concern in these last four months before the May national elections. The ultimate “epal” (from the vernacular pumapapel, referring to those claiming political credit) was to propose House Bill No. 5842, the P2,000 per month across-the-board increase in the Social Security (SSS) pension, in the courtship of voters in this campaign period. Gago na lang (so, so stupid!) whoever would oppose such a clearly humanitarian consideration for “the 1.9 million Filipinos who survive on a measly P1,200 pension.” (figures from Philippine Star 01.23.16)

    And so the proposed SSS pension increase rode on the shoulders of packs of epals in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, and this fragrantly-intoxicating social-relevance bill passed in both Houses until it was surprisingly vetoed by President Benigno S. C. Aquino III on Jan. 13.

    The President said “…the P2,000 across-the-board pension increase with a corresponding adjustment of the minimum monthly pension will result in substantial negative income for the SSS. The proposed pension increase of P2,000 per retiree, multiplied by the present number of more than two million pensioners will result in a total payout of P56.0 billion annually. Compared against annual investment income of P30 billion to P40 billion, such total payment for pensioners will yield a deficit of P16 billion to P26 billion annually.” (CNN)

    Aquino explained his veto by pointing out that “the passage of the bill would force the SSS to use the Investment Reserve Fund (IRF) to fund the pension increase, and this will result in the IRF reaching zero by 2029 (Inquirer). The solution would be to increase contributions of the present work force. Employer-contributors gallantly signified willingness to increase their share of the SSS contribution per employee, but will the people still working be happy with the increased burden on the employee-side contributions? Of course not, the active SSS contributors said — they will not be willing to subsidize the pension increase for those who have stopped working and contributing.

    Those in Congress who might have seen PR opportunities in pushing the SSS pension increase beyond the presidential veto seem to be now outnumbered by those who have thought it over and realized that many more voters (the present active SSS contributors) will be unhappy with the contributions increase than the voters who are retired and will enjoy the P2,000 per month bonanza. There are 33 million SSS members who pay an average of P1,100 per month and 2.15 million retirees and their dependents who receive an average P3,200 per month (Philippine Star 01.19.16).

    In dissecting the carcass of the pension increase bill, some labor leaders said that SSS should better improve its 35% to 38% collection rate (Philippine Star 01.23.16). “Collection efficiency is not the solution,” Michael Victor Alimurong, representative of the general public to the SSS commission, said in the Philippine Star. The situation is tantamount to having five SSS members pay for a single pensioner every month. Of the 33 million SSS members, only 12 million are “actively paying.” The delinquent members are from the 75% from the informal sector who have no capacity to sustain payments every month, according to Alimurong (Philippine Star).

    The same newspaper report cited civil society and interest group comments that the SSS should trim its humongous administrative and operating costs.

    “It is the height of injustice that the SSS executives are receiving millions in bonuses despite their obvious inefficiencies and lack of regard for the welfare of millions of the now-destitute member contributors,” Buklurang Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) cried.

    In October 2013, various worker groups protested against the 2012 year-end bonuses and increased salaries of top SSS executives, demanding the return of these monies to the fund. Emilio de Quiros, Jr., SSS president and chief executive officer confirmed that he and seven other members of the SSS board got at least P1 million each as bonuses for the good performance in 2012 of the pension fund, but the P276 million was also distributed to other employees (Inquirer 10.05.13).

    Malacañang had approved a 0.6-percentage-point increase in member contributions to the Social Security System (SSS) bringing monthly salary credit from 10.4% to 11%. “President Aquino in his State of the Nation Address in July (2013) said a reform agenda for the pension system was one of his administration’s priorities. He said a rise in SSS contributions was necessary since from the 1980s, contributions were raised only twice while pension benefits rose 21 times” (Inquirer 09.25.13).

    In the midst of the SSS pension increase controversy, an unconfirmed table of salaries of SSS top executives and allowances of the Board has been going around in the Internet, but is best not cited and repeated in written and oral journalism, for lack of verified sourcing.

    Whatever it is, the matter of bringing up executive pay in government to be at par with private business executive pay comes forward again. There has been a conscious effort in the Aquino administration to increase the pay of government executives as well as the pay grades equivalent to corporate rank-and-file, purportedly to attract the best to work in government and contribute time and talent to the growth and development of the country. Why, indeed, must government be second-choice or last resort, as a career and income-provider to family and survival?

    But as he was discussing the administrative pay in the 2016 budget, Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said that it would really be difficult to bring executive salaries in government to par with the private sector’s.

    In an interview with the Philippine Star in October 2015 Abad said that “there are 33 pay levels in the bureaucracy. Salary Grade 1 is the lowest and pays about P9,500 a month. Salary Grade 33 (the President’s pay level) is the highest and pays P120,000 a month.” The President’s basic monthly salary of P120,000 is only about “30% of the market,” meaning that it would have to be increased to P400,000 — which is what President Aquino’s successor will be receiving under the salary adjustment plan, once signed into law. The Executive and Legislative are prohibited by the Constitution from benefitting from the laws they make and promulgate.

    In the same Philstar interview, Abad admitted that under the new salary adjustment plan, those with high salary levels would get more than the lower ranks. “Those with low salary grades are receiving salaries that are already at par with the market. It is the higher grades that are far from the market,” Abad said, with “market” meaning the private sector. So also does the pay-grade scale appear to be at the Social Security System, now the “flavor of the month” for social activists (and the election-season rabble-rousers?). Do you really mean even higher executive pay at the SSS?

    Alas, the debate will go on and on, as the haunting music of the Titanic goes, until the waves of protest would have been calmed only at the sinking of the ideal itself — which in the present controversy is better social security benefits for all. It will not do much to belly-ache about how much Mr. de Quiros and his team earn, nor why the fund will run out in 2029 as only the actuarians might compute, in iterations and interpolations of ever-fluid statistics and assumptions.

    Of course civil society must be vigilant and watch what guardians of the social good are doing, but the best personal hedge would be to “self-insure” by saving for retirement and old age, in the yet inadequate protection of our developing country.

    Amelia H. C. Ylagan is a Doctor of Business Administration from the University of the Philippines.”

    http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=sub-issue-on-the-sss-pension-increase&id=121994

  5. karl garcia says:

    from the article that I posted.

    “In dissecting the carcass of the pension increase bill, some labor leaders said that SSS should better improve its 35% to 38% collection rate (Philippine Star 01.23.16). “Collection efficiency is not the solution,” Michael Victor Alimurong, representative of the general public to the SSS commission, said in the Philippine Star. The situation is tantamount to having five SSS members pay for a single pensioner every month. Of the 33 million SSS members, only 12 million are “actively paying.” The delinquent members are from the 75% from the informal sector who have no capacity to sustain payments every month, according to Alimurong (Philippine Star).”

    Only 12 million are actively paying.
    Like me I have not completed my 120 months. I only completed 96 months.

    those 12 million are saying that they do not want any increase in contributions,because they will be subsidizing for the two million retirees,and the number of 65 years old people increases every year by the thousands.

    • If I may say so, the refusal of “those 12 million are saying that they do not want any increase in contributions,because they will be subsidizing for the two million retirees,and the number of 65 years old people increases every year by the thousands” will eventually have a consequence when their turn to retire comes. I hear that the ECOP (Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines have generously manifested their willingness to agree to an increase in premiums that they are contributing as their share.

      If they refuse to pay premium for a higher Maximum Salary Credit then their own pension amount when they do retire will be correspondingly small.

      While other members are crying inequality between GSIS (P5K) and SSS (P1.2K) minimum pension, while it has been pointed out the differences in premium rate GSIS (21%) and SSS (P11+-%) and in the amount based (GSIS – actual salary, no cap) and SSS – P16K cap), still those 12 million (egged on by Colmenares and company) refuse to even contemplate paying additional premium.

      When that time comes that they will receive so little amount of pension, will they be among those who will complain that the state as being heartless?

      If we really do want to be at par with our counterpart in the government sector, a bigger percentage of your ACTUAL salary (NO CAP) as premium is a sound insurance wherein:

      5% – will be shouldered by the private workers
      8% – will be shouldered by the employers
      8% – will be shouldered by the government

      Note:

      This comment may have many typos or other errors as I’m listening to the Live Oral Arguments Audio Streaming of the Poe/Comelec case in the SC. Sorry.

  6. karl garcia says:

    All 1-7 of the consequences are spot on.

    on number 7.

    “In these situations, the threat of poverty is all pervading. Anyone with a permanent job is reluctant to leave it unless a better position is being offered. This is true even if the job entails long, unpaid extra hours, or if the employer is abusive. The same is true for workers in casual positions. As Giancarlo commented recently, “I suspect that most lower income working families are really living hand to mouth and not that interested in the long term. The NOW pervades everything.””

    After being retrenched. I had many dead end jobs jumping from one call center to the other.
    I say dead end,but I am speaking for my self.My sister in law is already five years with her call center job. But many are call center hoppers, only lasting one year or two, then the next call center awaits. Attrition and piracy is an odd combination for the industry.

    • Better to have call center jobs at home than being forced to go overseas like so many…

      in that sense the policies of Roxas are good.. also better to be an endo than jobless.

      But of course, depending on the endo’s mood, I wonder what he would say to Will.

      I remember how a young Romanian colleague in my Bucharest project told me… here in Romania nobody really plans for the future because most of the time there was none.. the only thing that matters is the present… he is now a manager at SAP Romania… BPO outfit and making really good money for over there… our SAP manager then who is our common friend on FB is now head of SAP Romania… I remember our lunches at Marriot Bucharest eating https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mititei and talking about all kinds of stuff including chicks.

      The point being, it is OK to take care of the present, but one must secure the future while doing so as much as one can. Roxas took care of getting BPO going, endos are good so that people get jobs instead of being just poor – but the next stage will have to go further.

      • The underdogs can have one advantage though… this is the most famous quote from the movie Gattaca: I never saved anything for the swim back.

        This is why the UST kids I favored over UP and Ateneo kids in an international project in the 1990s with a Filipino company are doing better now than their entitled colleagues. The woman is from Batangas and the man is from Malabon – formerly poor but hard workers.

  7. karl garcia says:

    bear with me for another comment.

    Bill,

    Mary has proposed a merger of Government snd Private pension funds.

    can you comment on the US Fair tax proposal.I have posted it many times,but no one is interested.It might be a bad idea,afterall.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/FairTax

    “The FairTax is a proposal to reform the federal tax code of the United States. It would replace all federal income taxes (including the alternative minimum tax, corporate income taxes, and capital gains taxes), payroll taxes (including Social Security and Medicare taxes), gift taxes, and estate taxes with a single broad national consumption tax on retail sales. The Fair Tax Act (H.R. 25/S. 155) would apply a tax, once, at the point of purchase on all new goods and services for personal consumption. The proposal also calls for a monthly payment to all family households of lawful U.S. residents as an advance rebate, or “prebate”, of tax on purchases up to the poverty level.[1][2] First introduced into the United States Congress in 1999, a number of congressional committees have heard testimony on the bill; however, it has not moved from committee and has yet to have any effect on the tax system. In recent years, a tax reform movement has formed behind the FairTax proposal.[3] Attention increased after talk radio personality Neal Boortz and Georgia Congressman John Linder published The FairTax Book in 2005 and additional visibility was gained in the 2008 presidential campaign.

    As defined in the proposed legislation, the tax rate is 23% for the first year. This percentage is based on the total amount paid including the tax ($23 out of every $100 spent in total). This would be equivalent to a 30% traditional U.S. sales tax ($23 on top of every $77 spent—$100 total).[4] The rate would automatically adjust annually based on federal receipts in the previous fiscal year.[5] With the rebate taken into consideration, the FairTax would be progressive on consumption,[2] but would also be regressive on income at higher income levels (as consumption falls as a percentage of income).[6][7] Opponents argue this would accordingly decrease the tax burden on high-income earners and increase it on the middle class.[4][8] Supporters contend that the plan would effectively tax wealth, increase purchasing power[9][10] and decrease tax burdens by broadening the tax base.

    The plan’s supporters state that a consumption tax would increase savings and investment, ease tax compliance and increase economic growth, increase incentives for international business to locate in the US and increase US competitiveness in international trade.[11][12][13] The plan is intended to increase cost transparency for funding the federal government. Supporters believe it would increase civil liberties, benefit the environment and effectively tax illegal activity and undocumented immigrants.[11][14] Opponents contend that a consumption tax of this size would be extremely difficult to collect, and would lead to pervasive tax evasion.[4][6] They also argue that the proposed sales tax rate would raise less revenue than the current tax system, leading to an increased budget deficit.[4][15] Other concerns include the proposed repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, removal of tax deduction incentives, transition effects on after-tax savings, incentives on credit use and the loss of tax advantages to state and local bonds.”

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Karl
      I do not know about the Fair Tax beyond what you have written. So I really cannot comment in an informed way..
      However I will make a comment about what Goods & Services taxes in general. These expenditure taxes in general reward the savers in a country. And they are the rich not the poor. Thus a GST tax is ‘regressive”. That is they impose a higher % tax burden on people with less income than they do on the rich and very rich…

      Let’s do some simple maths. If I am earning 3000 pesos a week I will probably spend every peso every week.If there is a GST of 10% then I am paying 300 pesos in tax a week or 10% of my income per week.

      But if I am earning 30,000 pesos a week there is a good probability that I will save some of it in the bank each week instead of spending it.. And the percentage tax will be less than my poorer neighbour. ( And if I save enough I will be able to organise to spend those savings in another country where there is no expenditure tax .)

      An equitable tax system generally tries to to be progressive. That is the richer pay a higher percentage of income each year than poorer people…I think that is the way your own Philipines income tax system works.

      I want also to comment on this ” The proposal also calls for a monthly payment to all family households of lawful U.S. residents as an advance rebate, or “prebate”, of tax on purchases up to the poverty level.”

      I am very suspect of anything that talks about lawful residents in the USA..There is a huge
      ‘unlawful’ resident population. These unlawfuls includes about 30,000,000 Latinos who do the dirty poorly paid jobs that US citizens don’t want to do as slaughterhouse men, as cleaners, as farm laborers, This Fair Tax proposal excludes them entirely.

      And re “poverty level’ who sets the level & when & how ? It will be ‘set’ and then forgotten about because it means more expenditure in the budget.

      An example, we have an expenditure tax in Australia. We call it the Goods & Service Tax ( GST ). It is a tax on goods & services. ( There are exemptions for fresh foods, health & education expenditures.which have been good ) When introduced in 1999 a number of social security payments were increased to take account of the added tax burden being placed on the poor in Australia. But since then there has been no attempt to maintain that position..And so inflation has gradually taken the increases away again…

      • VAT in the Philippines I think was introduced by Arroyo… I don’t know if there is a lower VAT rate for food and educational materials like in Germany… I don’t know if there still are local reprint books with “Export of This Book from the Philippine is Punishable by Law” in them… they still existed in the 1990s… the laws on local reprints already existed in Marcos times but may have come before him, they were to make American books cheaper locally in order to make them available for the poor. VAT I think is a good thing IN GENERAL…

        As for income tax progression, the problem in the Philippines is that tax progression is NOT indexed for inflation and is a fixed law instead of something administratively issued each year… so certain professionals including Giancarlo pay tax rates that used to be for the rich back in the 1990s from when the progression tables come… some candidates like Duterte want to raise the tax-free minimum income as well… probably those earning very low incomes for today’s inflation are being taxed too high, hardly enough is left to subsist.

        In Germany the net income that the simplest workers have is such that it is attractive, if one is lazy and inventive, to just go on welfare. A salary of around 1,300 Euro a month minus taxes, social security and health insurance – as opposed to almost 400 Euro for someone on welfare, but that is pocket money, because housing and health insurance are paid. OK some of the “welfare bums” manage to spend all the 400 Euro on beer including inviting “friends” in just a few days after month end when pubs are full… but some very inventive “welfare bums” manage to work illegally, so they live better than honest folks. Funny that these are often those who complain the most about foreigners in the country, or about Germany spending “too much” to help refugees or the Greeks with their issues.

      • karl garcia says:

        Many thanks Bill.
        I also think the underground economy remains underground.
        Yours and Edgar’s explanation of the Aussie system is excellent.

      • chempo says:

        @ Bill ..”a GST tax is ‘regressive”

        I think this is compromised to the extent that the rich spends on more stuff and bigger item stuff, so they pay more GST. Eg I’ll but a second hand car, you buy a brand new Mercedes, so you get to pay more. That’s the moral argument for GST.

        @ Irineo…”VAT I think is a good thing IN GENERAL”

        The argument of VAT/GST for the govt is the cost of collection is so much cheaper. It is also simpler. It catches many who may not be paying taxes, It is more like POS point of sales system — means speedier cashflows. Als very responsive — easy to up or down the rates.

        • Hehe, VAT also existed during Marcos times… Value Added Tong (bribes) for contracts.

          Alleged name of Marcos was Mr. 10% (per contract), but the VAT rate allegedly went up.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          What you say Karl is true in individual situations..There are individuals who spend all of their high income..And there are individual who on very low income manage to also save..However the ‘big picture’ ( the Macro -economic picture ) is for the rich to save. An example : I was employed for 12 years by a very wealthy individual here in Oz. Each year he was not able to spend his income. His savings accumulated.And being a canny business man he bought more businesses so adding to the process.

          You are right about ‘the cost of collection being cheaper & simpler. This is the big attraction of expenditure taxes..However I am not sure about the idea of it being easy to “up or down the rates” ..Putting up the GST here is mirred in controversy here in Oz as it is in Japan, Ireland, the UK..And I cannot think of an example where the rate went down

          • chempo says:

            What u say is true. Rates tend to go up only once govt finds it a speedy fiscal tool. In Singapore we implemented get at a time when the govt said they don’t need the funds. They only wanted to institutionalise the process for the advantagss I cited. When we started we had 5 years of tax refunds. Since then there has been an increase but we are still one of the lowest in the world

            • chempo, the entire Philippine system looks like this to me when it comes to money… it is like the pails some slum people use to store their water to wash themselves.

              The faucet is already leaky (money inflows), the pail has holes (corruption, waste) and the tabo (small pail) used to pour the water over the body is also with holes, so it is hard to fully rinse the soap from your body. I now wonder how the water situation is in Manila. In the “glorious days” of Marcos water shortages were so very common especially in the hot months… even in UP the fire brigade had to come and we filled our pails with water, in fact there were times water only flowed through the pipes 1-2 hours per day – how is it today?

              • Mind you, UP Area One was just 1-2 kilometers from MWSS Headquarters on Katipunan, Balara. They spent the development aid (I think it was USAID) to build a shiny new HQ, but did not upgrade the pipes. After pipes were upgraded they were buried again, the connection to the houses was only done years later – they had to open the ground once more. And to those who complain about MRT coaches taking so long to deliver – the main transformer of UP was once hit by lightning. It took 2 months I think to get a replacement from Germany because it had to go by ship – so much for the perfect years of Mr. Ferdie.

          • karl garcia says:

            That was Chempo Bill. 😃

            • Not Buffalo Bill? Now that I am remembering the stuff from before, it is quite clear to me that the few cockroaches still in the dirty kitchen are nothing compared to the rats before…

              Marcos era did not only have https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspeak like Tatad’s Truth and Imelda’s Beauty… According to Orwell, “the purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of IngSoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. Its vocabulary was so constructed as to give exact and often very subtle expression to every meaning that a Party member could properly wish to express, while excluding all other meaning and also the possibility of arriving at them by indirect methods. … it also had a lot of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doublethink To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself – that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.[4]… we pretended everything was the perfect world of the New Society, was what Imeldific was showing to Reagan and other visitors.. Jimmy Carter was the first NOT to buy the bullshit, one can duly give him credit for that. But we learned to lie.. not only to others but ultimately to ourselves.. the worst of all things.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              Uhhhhh ? Ummm ! Yes you are right Karl..It was Chempo..Sorry ….That attribution was neither earned nor deserved..

  8. josephivo says:

    Very interesting.

    To help the discussion, some variables I can think of:

    1. Duration of the contribution: number of years to build up a full pension, age of retirement.

    2. Who is the recipient: the contributor, widow/widower, orphaned children, as decided in the contract.

    3 Repayment strategy: the contributor builds up his own capital that is repaid in lifelong or fixed term installments starting at retirement age; the current contributors pay for the current pensioners; mixed forms.

    4. Who pays: Individual, employer, tax payers, mixed forms.

    5.Capital build-up: can it be commuted; can the investment vehicle be decided/influenced.

    6. Contributions: mandatory, tax incentives, maximum limit.

    • josephivo says:

      In Belgium we talk about the four pillars of a pension.

      The first pillar is the mandatory legal one where everybody has to contribute, a state organized insurance to cover the minimum requirements to stay alive. For the a pension you need 45 years of contribution, retirement age increased from 65 to 67 years. The contribution is a fixed % of your income (unlimited maximum), the pensions have a (low) ceiling. It covers the contributor, his surviving spouse and descendants. (If at retirement you don’t have a sufficient pension, the municipalities have funds to top it up to a survival minimum after you consumed all your possessions as house, jewelry, bank accounts and if your children are unable to support you.)

      The second pension pillar is based on free individual contributions above the minimum and guaranteed by the employer via the national or via private pension funds. These contributions are negotiated during your employment contract or fixed by profession or sector. Often it tops up the pillar one pension to 70% of your average monthly career income. Retirement age and coverage is mostly the same as pillar one. In most contracts you can buy out your individual contributions and a negotiated part of the employer’s contributions at the end of your contract, sometimes you can transfer your saved capital to the new employer.

      The third pillar are the individual private contributions to a private pension fund or life insurance. Contribution, retirement age and whom to cover are free to choose. Contributions are deductible from your taxable income up to a quite high amount. Most banks accept these contracts as collateral for very favorable loans, so this tax friendly investment remains quite liquid.

      The fourth pillar are all investments that are not covered by the 3 first pillars, they have no tax incentives. Saving accounts, shares, bonds, house or other real estate…

      Personally I always paid for the maximum contributions that were fiscally deductible. At the beginning of my career, when I changed employers and in non-European countries, I bought out my contributions whenever possible (I always had urgent needs for this money :-), when working abroad I always contributed too to a special (not OFW, but) OBW pension fund. Today I collect 7 different little pensions adding up to a comfortable one. Pillar 4 is kept for possible future emergencies.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        1. Interesting.

        2. On buying out: in Oz, the personal contributions are managed by a corporation that is independent of the employer. If one switches employment, one can stay with the same fund manager or opt to use the one recommended by the new employer. (For payroll purposes, an employer would prefer to deal with just one fund manager.) One has the option to stay with the old fund manager or merge old funds into the new fund manager. It may be more convenient to consolidate contributions into one fund manager, but may be safer to collect from 7 different little pensions. (I would probably review the ROI on the seven pensions, and consolidate into the top two or three.)

        2.1. That is for corporate (white-collar) workers. Blue-collar workers usually belong to “industry fund” managers (as mentioned by Bill) — one for construction workers, another for medical professionals, etc. — and would tend to stay with the same fund manager at change of employer.

        3. On collateral for a bank loan: In Oz, most large bank loans would be to acquire a mortgage. Yes, the bank would consider the existence of a personal pension fund in the granting of the loan.

        4. On total assets: The government pension is based on total assets including personal pension funds. However, one’s residence is not considered as part of the asset pool; after all one needs shelter. Other real properties would be included in the asset pool. Thus, one may live in a $5M mansion but with little other assets, one can still qualify for the government pension.

        5. It makes sense (cents, too) to put in the maximum contributions to take advantage of tax concessions… providing one has sufficient disposable income. (Again, this is the marshmallow test.) Does one have the forbearance to envisage one’s future comfort in retirement and put off buying that yacht? Clearly, people like us do not have the YOLO attitude of rock stars… and most Filipinos.
        *****

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          People like us are… farsighted, rational, risk-averse, dependable and oh so boring.
          *****

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Hi Edgar, Thanks for putting more info here about the Oz Super scheme..It is an important part of the bigger picture here even though it only started in the late 1980’s early 1990’s..
          One quibble..It is true that a retiree can live in a $5 million dollar house and get the retirement pension at the moment..But this is being ‘renegotiated’ via the political process..I think it will be capped somewhere between $0.7 to $1 million soon.. And I suggest in the Australian context that is fair

    • Joe America says:

      Excellent point, Jose. My own retirement is generous for the amounts I paid in, plus my kids have received payouts because I had them late in life and they were under 18 when I retired. My young son will get 18 years of payouts and paid nothing in. The payouts are surprisingly generous. The baby boom bubble is now sucking the fund dry because there aren’t enough young people to pay the load. The IRA concept is good in theory but bad in practice because saving for the long term just does not seem like a priority until people start staring retirement in the eye. I project that more Americans will start living like Filipinos have for decades. Leaning on one another, as a family.

  9. caliphman says:

    Great job, mate! The straight personable and unpretentious style in which you wrote the piece imbues it with credibility and freshness that makes such a highly charged topic easier to read and understand.

    It should be mentioned that its near namesake here in the US, the Social Security Administration, was and still is intended to be just a supplemental source of retirement income.This is how SSS
    benefits ahould be construed by everyone and contributing workers themselves.

    • It could be that the parameters in the United States (isn’t the SSA FDR times?) are a bit different from those in the Philippines. The adaptation of any foreign system should always consider local parameters to be successful. Just like the adaptation of the American system of government with Senate and Congress has a totally different effect, because the ones running it have Filipino mentalities of course. And of course the mixture of American and Spanish plus Filipino laws causes enormous confusion even to the Supreme Court. But it is of course their job to develop truly Filipino jurisprudence in order to adapt the legacy to Filipino reality – and hopefully develop a Filipino set of principles to adhere to. A lot of the confusion in the country is due to incompatibility between imported institutions and native mentality. Going back to the fully native mentality with native institutions – datus and rajahs – won’t work. Fully Americanizing didn’t work either. So finally the Philippines will have to modernize its own mentality while making its institutions more compatible with it…

    • Bill in Oz says:

      That is true Caliphman..But this presumed employer retirement funds negotiated by unions with employers. And now in the USA unions have lost a lot of bargaining power vis a vis employers..And employers have lost a lot of their former capacity to offer such benefits because of the the global economy and being squeezed by companies overseas with low wage rates and far fewer benefits like sick leave..The BPO business which has grown in the Philippines is part of that global business phenomenon. But so are cars made in Mexico or Korea or IPhones in China

  10. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    I sell retirement plans using a combination of equities and bonds for fund accumulation, offered by a Canadian company with over 100 years of operations in the Philippines. Never in my interviews with prospects has SSS been a factor in determining the right amount of pension targets. It’s as if it doesn’t exist. If it helps, fine, if not, fine, too. Money for popcorn actually. The point being made is that since the contributions are small, so must be the monthly pension. Government has to review the contribution scale, otherwise, the SSS will remain a dismal contributor to the well-being of retirees with or without the P2,000 monthly increase. Make it count or count it out.

  11. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. Wonderful, mate.

    2. Overall I think we need a vision.

    3. Based on my Oz experience, this is how I would describe the vision.

    4. First of all, I think we need to define the purpose of social security systems. The purpose should be for people to have adequate pension funds to live on in retirement.

    4.1. By adequate, I mean the equivalent of a living wage, which is defined as “the minimum income necessary for a person [worker] to meet their basic needs.” This income should be above subsistence and above the poverty line. The income should make one “comfortable” within the limits of simple living (austerity).

    4.2. This purpose would do away with heavy dependence on family (as Irineo has highlighted.)

    5. In Oz, this purpose is met by two streams:

    5.1. The personal contributory superannuation (PCS) system which is the equivalent of SSS. (This was introduced by a Labor government in 1992, which is quite recent.)

    5.2. The government non-contributory welfare (GNW) system . (Bill has noted that the Oz “welfare” system is a safety net that not only supports age pension, but also provides unemployment benefits, disability benefits, education benefits, maternity benefits and some more.)

    5.2.1. The GNW is means-tested. If one’s assets, including the PCS, exceeds a certain assets/income threshold, one does not receive any. If one’s assets, is below the threshold, then the GNW pension is tapered according to the size of one’s assets. The assets/income threshold and the age pension are indexed.

    6. To do away with the defects in the SSS system and those cited in the linked article submitted by Jose Cortez, the PCS is based on the fact that “what you put in is what you get.” Well, basically what you put in plus investment growth.

    6.1. On the contribution side, the money paid in is taxed minimally to ensure fund growth. The contribution rate is set by law and currently stands at 9.5%. Under certain circumstances:

    6.1.1. Government may make a co-contribution, equal to a worker’s contribution, for low wage workers. (The co-contribution considers the total annual contribution amount; if it is less than a certain contribution threshold, a worker may apply for the benefit.)

    6.1.2. At one time, workers could avail of bank loans and put it into their fund. This has now been discouraged by the imposition of a contribution cap.

    6.1.3. When nearing retirement, workers may sacrifice part of their salary to increase their funds. Apart from the multiplier effect on growth, this decreases the amount of tax the worker has to pay. A win-win situation.

    6.2. On the pension side, the money paid out is not taxed at all. (I am not sure about this last point although it is supported by item 6.1.2. It may be that tax is imposed if one’s pension payout exceeds the minimum income tax threshold. At any rate, there is consumption tax to pay.)

    6.2.1. The pension amount must be within min/max limits established by actuarial calculations, which take into account such variables as the size of the fund and the expected life span of the individual.

    6.2.2. If the pensioner dies before his fund is exhausted, the fund becomes part of his estate. In reality, the pensioner is obligated to name beneficiaries.

    6.2.3. If the pensioner survives the exhaustion of his fund, he moves into the GNW stream. Note that the move is gradual as GNW kicks in when his assets fall below the established assets/income threshold. Important: so at all times, the pensioner is guaranteed to have an adequate living income.

    6.2.4. Under certain special circumstances – such as emigration, disability, and financial hardship — a contributor may avail of his funds before retirement.

    6.3. On the investment side, as Bill notes, one can select one’s fund manager. The fund manager earns income by management fees which are government regulated. There are no bonuses for excellent performance! But the more successful you are as a fund manager, you get the bigger piece of the pie.

    6.3.1. The investment strategy is customized according to the contributor’s age: aggressive when young, balanced when middle-age, and conservative when old.

    6.3.2. The investments are diversified and placed in cash, fixed-interest accounts, shares or equities, and real estate. The placements may be domestic and international.

    6.3.2. The contributor is provided with annual statements, and he can confer with his fund manager to change the investment strategy, his beneficiaries or his payout amount.

    7. In terms of coverage, the PCS covers all workers – private or government, permanent or casual. The GNW would cover all others.

    7.1. I am under the impression that government workers have better superannuation schemes in terms of contribution rates (the government puts in extra) and something called a “defined benefit scheme.”
    *****

  12. Bill in Oz says:

    I would like to add couple of thoughts to what I wrote about SSS. I have been thinking about what I see as the three main problems in SSS
    1 : The low level of compliance by employers ( 38% ? )

    2 : The fact that SSS does not cover casuals, temperary workers, endos, or people in the completely ‘informal’ sector like sari sari shops, pedicabs, etc

    3 : The fact that SSS does not offer any coverage for persons who are unemployed – even if they are sacked from a permanent job.

    To solve these problems I suggest :
    1: That SSS be expanded to cover all employment types whether short term, contract, endo or permanent.

    2 : That unemployment benefits be available to all workers who become unemployed if they are first registered as employed.

    It seems that at the moment there are many registered employers who are not providing contributions for permanent employed workers. But if these ‘permanents’ protest they are likely to lose their job and replaced by other workers as casuals..In other words, these employees have no ‘leverage’. Requiring that ALL employees ( of any status ) be registered with SSS and that employers pay the 7.7 % will improve this situation.It gives some leverage to workers vis a vis their SSS.

    If all employees can be paid unemployment benefits if they lose their job., if they were registered as employed before hand, it gives employees an real incentive to put pressure on ‘delinquent’ employers to pay SSS

    I suggest that this will lead to employees putting pressure on employers to make their contributions to SSS and increase the employer compliance level not just with SSS but with payment of taxes in general…

    A general comment : At the moment things are regulated in a way that encourages non compliance..I suggest changing the rules so that a ‘virtuous circle’ is established that encourages compliance.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      “I also think the underground economy remains underground.”
      Providing unemployment benefits to workers who are members of the SSS whatever their work status will help reduce the underground economy.Give all workers a stake in the system SSS being well run and honest

      • Second requirement might be: change tax progression. It COULD be that the minimum tax-exempted income is too low and that those who work legally and earn little are hardly able to survive, so they go into the underground economy. Honesty also has to pay off.

  13. PML says:

    ***The “SSS” (Social Security System) in the Philippines is not a welfare program.***

    Tapos ang boksing!

    Great job, Bill. Maraming salamat po

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      That is right! Social Security System is not a welfare program unlike in the U.S. It is a pension system.

  14. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    What is the difference between Pag-Ibig, SSS and GSIS ? It seems they have overlapping functions.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      Government employees are forced to contribute to Pag-Ibig and GSIS.
      Private employees are forced to contribute to Pag-Ibig and SSS.

      Households are to contribute to SSS for their househelp. How many religious household (83% of the population of the Philippines) are contributing for their househelp who are paid below-subsistence pay?

      Poor Jeepney Drivers are legislatively forced to be charitable to give discounts to senior citizens. Yet, their charity is not factored in the gasoline they pay.

    • PML says:

      I guess Pagibig is for Housing, SSS is insurance for private individuals, GSIS is insurance for Government Employees, and Philhealth is for health insurance.

      • chempo says:

        In my opinion the pagibig has no social equity in its purpose. Everybody is contributing to a fund that benefits only house buyers who take up a loan. If I”m so poor a house is beyond me, my contributions are for nothing

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          Have to agree. Which brings up a question: what happens to unused contributions?

          There must be millions in abandoned contributions. I contributed for a while before I left to work overseas.

          In Oz, there is a register of unclaimed superannuation contributions that one can search.
          *****

        • Bill in Oz says:

          This is something my lady has mentioned.She is a compulsory contributor..But the total amount she has saved over 13 years is low compared to the amount needed as a deposit to buy a home. As for us using pag Ibig to buy a home, I am reluctant. Two years ago she borrowed a small amount from Pag Ibig. The interest rate on repaying is 19,5%…And recently we discussed that Pag Ibig is controlled by Binay and his cronies. Bahhh !

          If I have any criticism of Aquino it is that did not ensure that known thieves and plunderers were excluded from any role in his government during the past 6 years …

          • Joe America says:

            If I have any criticism of Aquino it is that did not ensure that known thieves and plunderers were excluded from any role in his government during the past 6 years …

            The President has to operate within the established laws, which favor the powerful (no anti-dynasty law) and within a culture that accepts wrongdoing from the entitled. Many of the entitled are wrong-doers and that establishes the political reality in which he works. The President went to the very edge of impeachment to get the former SC justice removed (a wrongdoer, based on subsequent charges filed against him), so I’d say your criticism may not be founded on what the situation is like, here on the ground of power, favor, entitlement and impunity. Many institutions, including the media, work against the goals of good governance.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              But surely he could have sidelined the VP into a non active role as traditionally happens in the US ?

              Ahh well at least a corrupt supreme court justice was removed..

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Sideline?

                Beneath the rough-and-tumble surface of formal Filipino politics, is a vast and intricate web of informal “incestuous” relationships and utang-na-loob.

                1. The President’s mother appointed the Vice-President to be mayor of Makati after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, which came about 2 years after the assassination of the President’s father by people close to the dictator.

                2. During the Marcos dictatorship, the Vice-President was one of sterling human-rights lawyers defending the victims of the dictatorship.

                3. The Vice-President earned the tile of “Rambotito” (diminutive of the movie character war veteran Rambo) with his spirited defense of the President’s mother in the coup strikes against her perpetuated by Enrile and his familiar Honasan.

                4. It is said that the Vice-President was at the President’s side after an attempt was made on his (PNoy’s) life.

                5. The Aquino and Binay clans are family friends, with the President’s sisters once supporting the presidential candidacy of Binay, even though Binay is now the opposition and has criticized the administration — of which he was part of — as “callous and incomptent.”

                6. Enrile, the Marcos henchman, has been allied with Binay, the anti-Marcos activist, for some time now under the UNA party. Honasan, the putschist, is now running as the vice-presidential candidate of Binay.

                7. Enrile, who brought down Marcos, supports Bongbong’s candidacy, raising the hands of the son of the dictator he (Enrile) helped bring down.

                8. Now if one can make head or tails of what goes on here, one would put Freud to shame.
                *****

              • Joe America says:

                He eventually removed him from the cabinet when Binay started criticizing the Administration. He can’t remove him from his elected position as VP. Plus, the President abides by the odd rules of the culture of impunity, that people are not declared guilty by public pronouncement, but by official declaration (Ombudsman, courts). He consistently would stick with family friends/acquaintances and bore the brunt of popular criticism for that (Puno, Abad, Purisima, Abaya). Binay is a friend of the Aquino family, so he would not go against that. It seems peculiar to us because we come from an ethical world that does not permit stained people to stay in office. It is not the same ethical world here, and one cannot change it by declaration.

                So we work relentlessly pounding out blogs to try to change it one mind at a time.

  15. PML says:

    Points “6 and 7” are home runs from my experience.

    I was a developer and chief tech for a local brand of gadgets in PH.
    Natanggal ang 95% ng assembly department and 50% ng logistic staff namin. All of them were permanent employees and later napalitan sila ng mga contractual. Your piece clearly explains one of the main reasons why.

    • http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2013/05/the-grim-reality-behind-the-philippines-economic-growth/275597/ – The Atlantic is a highly reputable publication, your statement, that of Karl about call centers all fit into the picture painted here:

      “The Philippines is no longer the sick man of East Asia, but the rising tiger,” announced World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi during the Philippines Development Forum in Davao City in February.

      But that economic growth only looks great on paper. The slums of Manila and Cebu are as bleak as they always were, and on the ground, average Filipinos aren’t feeling so optimistic. The economic boom appears to have only benefited a tiny minority of elite families; meanwhile, a huge segment of citizens remain vulnerable to poverty, malnutrition, and other grim development indicators that belie the country’s apparent growth. Despite the stated goal of President Aquino’s Philippine Development Plan to oversee a period of “inclusive growth,” income inequality in the Philippines continues to stand out.

      These numbers from 2013 are still shocking:

      Meanwhile, overall national poverty statistics remain bleak: 32 percent of children under age five suffer from moderate to severe stunting due to malnutrition, according to UNICEF, and roughly 60 percent of Filipinos die without ever having seen a healthcare professional. In 2009, annual reports found that 26.5 percent of Filipinos lived on less than $1 a day — a poverty rate that was roughly the same level as Haiti’s. And a new report from the National Statistical Coordination Board for the first half of 2012 found no statistical improvement in national poverty levels since 2006. Even as construction cranes top Manila skyscrapers and the emerging beach town of El Nido unveils plans for its newest five-star resort, tens of millions of Filipinos continue to live in poverty. And according to Louie Montemar, a political science professor at Manila’s De La Salle University, little is being done to destabilize the Philippines’ oligarchical dominance of the elite.

      The reason is named clearly, not enough SMEs, so Bam Aquino / Mar Roxas are right:

      Many observers blame the inequality on widespread corruption in local government, which makes it difficult or impossible for many Filipinos to launch small businesses. (In 2012, Transparency International, a non-governmental organization that monitors and reports a comparative listing of corruption worldwide, gave the Philippines a rank of 105 out of 176, tied with Mali and Algeria, among others.) Low levels of investment also suppress business growth: the Philippines’ investment-to-GDP ratio currently stands at 19.7 percent. By comparison, the investment rate is 33 percent in Indonesia, 27 percent in Thailand, and 24 percent in Malaysia.

      Increasing tourism does help certain towns, something I also have suspected:

      For the select few Filipinos who live in beach towns and other popular tourism areas, however, the recent influx of foreign tourists to the previously overlooked country has meant new business opportunities. Celso Serran, 38, a rickshaw driver in the growing tourist town of El Nido, said that the economic impact of tourism has had a significant impact on his income. “Today, a driver can reasonably expect to make 500 Philippine Pesos ($12.16) per day,” said Serran. “Before the tourists started coming, he might make 200 PHP ($4.86) on a good day.”

      For some, the tourism industry is so clearly the only option that it even pulls them away from their hometowns towards more tourist-friendly cities. Dorina Genturo, 20, moved from Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan, to El Nido for the better job opportunities there. “There are definitely a lot more jobs in tourism, in hotels and tour companies,” she said. “But it’s not like this in other towns.”

      Again the SME stuff, and a comparison with other countries – and also the reason why everything is concentrated so much on the big cities especially Metro Manila:

      According to a paper released by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) account for roughly 99 percent of Filipino firms. However, those SMEs only account for 35 percent of national output–a sharp contrast with Japan and Korea, where the same ratio of SMEs accounts for roughly half of total output. This translates into far fewer high-paying jobs on the local level for Filipino employees and exacerbates the huge income disparity across the country.

      The PIDS paper is here: http://dirp4.pids.gov.ph/ris/dps/pidsdps1327.pdf

      • Madlanglupa says:

        > Again the SME stuff, and a comparison with other countries – and also the reason why everything is concentrated so much on the big cities especially Metro Manila

        It’s this problem that fuels the perception of some people in the Visayas and Mindanao that federalism is viable in order to redistribute wealth and decentralize control away from Manila, despite my doubts the system might only heighten the scourge of political dynasties, warlordism and gerrymandering.

        (Funny, Indonesia is larger than us yet they don’t call themselves federal)

  16. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    The devil and the deep blue sea: Save the pensioners from hunger? Save SSS? Or, save Mar Roxas. That is $64.00 question.

    • It should be about saving the Philippines I think. Because the economic, social and political supertyphoon worse than Yolanda that is brewing will hit all, rich and poor. Roxas I think has the competence to prevent it from happening, and even bring the country to greatness.

      • Rizal already said it more than 100 years ago in “The Philippines, A Century Hence”,
        https://archive.org/stream/philippinescentu00riza/philippinescentu00riza_djvu.txt – his works should be read more, but alas he took a walk in Luneta to become a statue:

        All the reforms of our liberal ministers were, have been, are, and will be good — when carried out. – reforms have been good but partial, and:

        In the case of our country, the reforms take Cervantes’ “Don Quijote,” Part II, chapter 47, the place of the dishes, the Philippines are Sancho, while the part of the quack physician is played by many persons, interested in not having the dishes touched, perhaps that they may themselves get the benefit of them. Secretary Abaya? PNP Purisima? Secretary Abad? Senator Drilon definitely NOT he is a good fat man, but:

        The result is that the long-suffering Sancho, or the Philippines, misses his liberty, rejects all government and ends up by rebelling against his quack physician.

        Mar Roxas’ government can be two possible things if he wins:

        – the last postcolonial government of the Philippines (if he can’t control parts of his LP)

        – the first modern, truly Filipino government (especially if he listens to Leni Robredo)

        The alternatives are Binay and Poe as truly Filipino Mafia governments, Duterte as a violent cacique dictatorship, Santiago as a sickly revival of the Marcos cacique rule, or Seneres as a not half-hearted, but half-baked attempt to form a truly Filipino government.

        The elements that can form the perfect storm are as follows:

        – economic: only relying on BPO and OFW is not enough. The country must graduate to the next level like Romania has with more industry and more advanced services. In todays world “Only the Paranoid Survive”, like Andy Grove wrote with regards to businesses…

        – political: the system is being fixed, but will have to be streamlined even more, especially when it comes to the justice system. The political culture will become more goal-oriented.

        – social: lack of opportunity remains a major time bomb, the energy of the Filipino and his passion a kind of uranium that can fuel a nuclear power plant of a country, or if not given opportunity can lead to all kinds of destruction, if it reaches critical mass even explosion.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Mariano, making SSS better for all Filipinos will also make it better for the elderly pensioners. The 2 are not incompatible.
      But in the immeditae short term I think there is clear that government mismanagement ( in the Marcos era etc) caused high inflation.This lead to a huge loss of value by people who are now retiring on SSS..The governmnet has a moral duty to help them.To make amends

    • “The devil and the deep blue sea: Save the pensioners from hunger? Save SSS? Or, save Mar Roxas. That is $64.00 question.” – MRP

      Popularity versus wisdom. Playing politics versus what is beneficial to the greater number of people.

      PNOY chose the latter to save the SSS and the Philippines. As a consequence, the SSS is now under closer and stricter scrutiny; everything is out in the open to eliminate abuses and mismanagement, discussion is ongoing to rationalize the system; the Employers’ Confederation of the Phil. (ECOP) is now on record as magnanimously agreeing to an increase in premiums that they share to bring about this rationalization. The Legislature has woken up to the fact that they just can’t legislate without an accompanying funding to implement their enacted laws whether it is about SSS pension or about anything else. Even a PNOY critic like Sergio Osmena has publicly said that he erred in voting for the passage of the law and that he agreed with the decision of the President.

      That’s the difference between PNOY/Mar and Poe/Binay/Escudero who at once tried to ride the bandwagon of populist but damaging, unstudied decisions.

      It’s now up to the Senate whether to override the veto and enact a sister bill to fund the vetoed law or another law to do away with the cap on the Maximum Salary Credit and propose a 5-8-8 percentage sharing (or any variation that is acceptable to all stakeholders) of the premium between the private workers, employers and government. That is if the private sector really want to be at par with their counterpart in the government sector. They should also think about running after those endo policies that is shrinking the SSS membership every year due to retirements of actively paying members.

      This is where a semblance of future savings come into play, to decide on IRF (Income Replacement Fund) when the current 12 million actively paying SSS members’ time to retire comes. It’s about time also for the other 18 million not actively paying SSS members to put pressure on their delinquent employers to abide by the SSS law, or as in the case of those who are self employed, OFWs, even those who are just staying at home as voluntary member, or those already in government service to continue paying their premiums. I hear about those in the US and even locally, who have double insurance coverage, one for SSS and another for GSIS.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Hi Mary Grace …All of the issues you raise are important..But I think it is more important to try and step back from the details and look at the big picture…
        There is a huge informal ( Family business ) sector with many people working for no wages or minimal wages and no formal provision for sickness, maternity, disability or old age..

        Incorporating ‘unemployment benefits’ to workers registered with SSS will give such family businesses and their workers a real incentive to be part of the SSS…And bring such businesses into the formal economy..

        I think the same is true for casual, temporary workers, endos, contract workers etc..If they can claim some unemployment benefit when unemployed IF they are also members of SSS, there will be worker pressure on employers to enroll them as SSS members..as part of their ’employment package’ …

        I think then that income into the SSS will start to increase substantially from the higher involvement & the higher compliance rates..And yes there may be increased payments as well.

        But in the longer term effectively the SSS would be transformed into a real national social security system for all Philippinos.

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          Uh huh. Incorporating unemployment benefits is asking for trouble. It’s like giving Imelda access to the de Beer’s diamond vault. Or the keys of Fort Knox to Goldfinger.

          The solution to the problem of endos is not unemployment benefits but getting business to give them security of tenure.
          *****

            • Not yet implementable in Philippine reality. As long as there is a vast informal economy and the formal economy is still not working properly in practice. Suggestion and question:

              1) if the employee contribution for SSS is around 3% and the employer contribution is 7%, why not impose an employer contribution (only) for endos etc. at 10%? This would be similar to the employer-only contribution for minijobs in Germany. It was introduced because minijobs have their usefulness for working mothers and students – and for employers if they want to farm out small jobs. Some small employers get mothers who have accounting background to work 2 hours every morning to do accounting, they don’t need more. Or students to do the basic HR and admin stuff including preparing receipts. But to prevent misuse – and to make sure the millions of minijobs also contribute to the system – the employer-only contribution was created. Would work the same way for endos. Businessmen will always think in numbers, so if you make them pay for something, they might think of ways to avoid it – unless it still “has cuenta” for them, then they still will pay…

              2) Why is the collection rate for SSS so low? I ask because it should all be simple. In the USA or Germany or any normal country (the Philippines is an Abnoy country, they should worry about themselves more than if the President is one) the employee gets net income, the withholding tax, social security and medical insurance are already deducted – and are transferred as a total for all employees to the tax office, social security office and to the medical insurance respectively. Why is this simple system again not possible in Pinas?

              • Bill in Oz says:

                It’s been a bit of a day here for me with family stuff going on ( a younger brother ). And so I got confused about in my replies..

                I should have said I disagree with Edgar ( and Mary Grace )..However having just read Irineo’s comment above, I agree with what he suggests..especially the second remark about compliance rates among employers..It just shouldn’t be that hard

              • Joe America says:

                It should be easy to drive within the lines, or wear a motorcycle helmet, or not throw trash out the bus window. It is a culture of impunity, and that goes down to the individual when there are not enough “watchers” to write tickets or otherwise identify and fine violators. It IS hard. Ask BIR if their job has been easy, five years into it. It has been hard.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                1) Are endos covered by SSS? In Oz, temps and casuals are.

                2) In Oz, company directors are made personally liable for unremitted contributions.
                *****

            • Bill in Oz says:

              Then I respectfully disagree with both of you..
              And I find myself perplexed to explain why.

              Edgar..Here in Oz any Australian not working but capable of work, is entitled in our welfare system to apply for unemployment benefits.

              But that is not what I am suggesting for the Philippines.

              I am suggesting something much more limited.

              I am suggesting that the law be changed so that SSS membership is compulsory for anybody working in paid jobs. And that SSS aim to achieve 100% compliance by employers.

              I am also suggesting that if a worker employed in a registered job where the employer contributes to SSS, becomes unemployed ( is sacked as we say here ), then that worker has a right to apply for unemployment benefits.

              My aim to give all workers a stake, an interest, a desire, in SSS functioning well by ensuring that they are members contributing to SSS. And this also amounts to a stake in the Philippines as a nation !!

              • OK, unemployment benefits just after getting sacked from a registered job are OK… if limited to let’s say 2-3 months to look for a new registered job… or go unregistered…

                You have to limit the dole, because otherwise loads of people would cheat, pretend to have no job but work on an unregistered job. BTW in Germany minijobs have social security (pension claims) but no unemployment insurance – I guess for similar reasons.

                Employers even could “fire” them, then employ them unofficially while they get dole, but since tax collection is now somehow working, the incentive for employers is to employ people officially, since they can deduct expenses. Don’t underestimate the trickster culture.

              • Bill, just as a side information: BIR collections just got fixed in THIS administration. Taxes.

                Social security collections are not working, I still don’t understand why. They even have official numbers as to uncollected SSS dues – could somebody explain WTF that is about?

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Bill, thanks.

                I know what you are getting it. But I also know the depravity — and ingenuity — of the Filipino.

                In Oz, we have the problem of dole bludgers. It may not be as real as we have been led to assume, but there is a hardcore number of people who have adopted bludging as a lifestyle. The government has instituted various stratagems to overcome the problem, such as monitoring the number of job applications and interviews, and “work for the dole.”

                I have heard of Filipinos here taking advantage, not really of unemployment benefits, but of the age pension. You are aware that the pension rates for singles are much higher than for a couple? Well, guess what? Some couples have gone through simulated divorce to obtain the advantage.

                As a Filipino, I should not be taking this attitude. But there are so many scams to divert government funds into private hands at every level that I am forced to hold and advance my negative opinion.
                *****

        • Sir edgar

          Most endo employees are not covered, like my nephew who was under contract for 5 months, transferred to a sister company for another five months, later treated as a consultant for a year, in all those period, he was not SSS, etc. covered. Now a company absorbed him with full SSS, Philhealth, Pag-ibig HMO coverage, but the wonder of it is, he is still working with the same multinational company as a SAP specialist. I don’t know know how it was made possible.

          In our province the endo contract workers are now being asked to get SSS numbers, so there is hope there, though not on a long term basis, being contractual.

          Bill in Oz

          The Legislative department should prioritize this SSS pension thing, whether to override the Presidential veto, pass the sister bill to fund the passed law or another law that would rationalize the SSS to make it at par with the government workers. That is, instead of wasting time reopening this Mamasapano hearing in aid of election or to undermine the presidency and the global war on terror in aid of revenge.

          If I may expand on my IRF (Income Replacement Fund) idea, that was a personal choice for each individual workers, not state or private insurance initiated. My point there is for workers, whether in public or private sector, to think about setting aside a little something so that when their own retirement comes, life will not be so hard on them or they will not be dependent on their children who might have families of their own to think of. Agreeing to a higher SSS premium is one way for the private sector that will raise the MSC bracket which will in turn raise the monthly pension that they will receive in the future. In the government sector – if you are in a high income bracket (the middle class), you are assured of a bigger pension as of now, but saving is not a bad idea either. The IRF idea is applicable also as a safety net in case something happens to the sole bread winner, or even a partner bread winner. the income lost will be replaced by the accumulated savings that can be placed in a high yielding investment the income of which can approximate the lost income of the missed bread winner.

          A little austerity living (salvation by austerity), not spending ALL that you currently earn. Foregoing unnecessary expenses like junk foods and drinking sprees, those sort of thing. Well, not completely in case others will ask, “so where will be the joy of living”, just not so frequently as in daily splurging just because there is still money in one’s wallet.

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      What if Grace Poe is DQed?
      Filipinos will have to choose between Binay and Duterte ….
      What about Mar?
      He barely made a blip in the polls despite his 4 years in New Jersey, 7 years in New York and zipping in and out of America for vacation. Mar was in the U.S. more than Grace Poe and nobody asked about Mar’s residency status if he had given up his Filipino citizenship.

      Duterte implied and admitted he violated human rights and the constitution but not DQed. Weird.

      If Grace Poe is DQed, Filipinos will have to choose between a thief and a demagogue unless God brings Gabriel to the Philippines and divinely intervene to have Filipinos vote for Mar.

      Just like I predicted, Korina had a show going. She also hanged to dry Mar’s tattered t-shirt to entice voters. There will be more revelations in the future to come.

      • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

        … and I was also right, the stumbling block of Mar is Korina. It was in the Inquirer while I was in hibernation.

        • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

          Mar’s stumbling block is the Filipino voter himself. Does he want drama, sensationalism, cliffhangers, inordinate risk, back-to-zero assessments? Or does he want to roll up his sleeves, forget that the elections are not about him but about the beloved country? Is he willing to exchange sabong (cockfight) democracy for a boring, participative rule of law, a government with less shrill, inch by inch, no turning back progress?

          • Madlanglupa says:

            > Filipino voter himself

            This. Other politicians have for years promoted voter ignorance, combined with fear-uncertainty-doubt by dubious information obtained through social networking sites with paid trolls and apologists of the dictator’s family, and of course giving handouts and applying social band-aids rather than creating long-term concrete solutions.

        • Jonathan says:

          Korina Sanchez has nothing to do with the difficulties of the Mar Roxas campaign. Their difficulty is one of performance and communication – Mar Roxas is getting tarred by the extremely high-profile fiascos at the DOTC, as well as the “walang paki/malasakit” perception that has hit PNoy recently (SSS pension, tax reform, etc.)

          The entire campaign theory of Mar Roxas is simply: The Tuwid na Daan has been good, let’s keep it going! And there are significant chunks of the PH voting population that rejects the starting premise.

          • That perception still sticks because you and all the opposition supporters keep repeating it. Binay and his PR started it after he took the oath as VP. Oh, wait, they just continued the 2010 campaign mode without let up, while Mar kept on working.

            No amount of explanation can change that perception, it seems, as you and the others are not in a listening mode. The SSS pension had been discussed, even Serge Osmena admitted that he erred in voting for that ill-conceived law and that he agree with the President’s veto, Mayor Romualdez had apologized, he had only been in DOTC for just a year, but still….oh well.

            BTW, I enjoyed reading this:

            http://blog.marroxas.com/2016/01/23/speech-of-mar-roxas-at-the-gathering-of-friends-in-maasin-s-leyte/

            • Jonathan says:

              Mary Grace, first of all, have I said I’m an opposition supporter? I am not. I remain undecided. I find it amusing to note that your instinct to criticism is to assume, without any facts, that I am an opposition supporter and unworthy of being listened to.

              Secondly, you cite the fact that Mar was only a DOTC for just a year as a defense against the failures there. That means – you don’t get it. Mar is in trouble not particularly because of anything he did or didn’t do. It’s because he is running as a continuation of this administration. So EVERYTHING this administration does affects his candidacy. Is it fair? No, but that’s how politics goes. The ineptitude of Jun Abaya has an impact on how people perceive Tuwid na Daan, whether you like it or not. To many people, they look at Tuwid na Daan like this: if you can’t even deliver license plates or licenses on time, why should we believe anything you say?

              Oh, and since you’re putting words in my mouth, let me correct you. I believe that the PNoy was right to veto the pension increase, but it was an act of political incompetence that it HAD to be vetoed. A ruling administration party SHOULD have been able to quietly kill the bill or muster support against it way before a veto was necessary. In short, if people are asking why is this being spun against PNoy, they should also ask: why did it reach his desk in the first place?

              • “your instinct to criticism is to assume, without any facts, that I am an opposition supporter and unworthy of being listened to.” that is an issue, because it is exactly the kampihan mentality that prevents true democracy in the Philippines. Sa pula ka ba, o sa puti? 🙂

                Democracy is not about supporting someone, it is about the hard work of getting and keeping a country running – and supporting those who the best to be able to do it.

                Mar Roxas’ recent video shows that attitude – it is about work to be done, that I like. Also his statement that he will fill up what is lacking and correct what is wrong – unusual for a Filipino, in fact an advancement relative to sometimes self-righteous “Dalai Lama” Noynoy.

              • Ok, if you say that you’re not in the opposition, ok, you’re not… was it you who said that you are a cousin of Korina?

                you’re still undecided…uhmmm, ok if you say so.

                You should run for President, it looks like you know everything, how to run the country oh so perfectly.

              • The supposed cousin of Korina had another name I am pretty sure, sounded like a bullshit artist to me… cousing of Korina and then saying he knows many people from the street.

                Jonathan is not even criticizing the President. He is making clear to us what the problems of Mar Roxas can be. Halimbawa na si Abaya talagang pahamak sa kampanya ni Mar…

                Getting defensive is not going to help Mar win. Just stress the achievements and be prepared to have to acknowledge the mistakes. But placed against the achievements they are less, and also consider where the Philippines and everything was when they started.

              • karl garcia says:

                jose guevarra is the cousin

              • Irineo,

                That’s what I do almost everyday on FB, trying to defend the good side of the PNOY Admin and it’s anointed one. Because I believe in Continuity. Most people who visit this site (maybe not Jonathan here) who claim to still be undecided are in truth the ones undermining the candidacy of Mar and you cannot blame me if I become “defensive”. Abaya and the traffic, they are noises that are already ringing in my ears. They don’t want to listen to the long term plans that are already in the pipeline, they want solutions NOW or 5 and a half years ago. They (again, am not referring to Jonathan) insist that traffic, floods and deaths on Yolanda are Mar’s faults. When even Duterte is saying that traffic cannot be solved in just 6 years. Chempo has written an article about traffic, infrastructure, JICA. Another article is coming from him to be published here at the end of the month devoted to MRT/LRT. It is a complicated problem spanning almost 28 years.

                Joe has once remarked long ago (before the election and campaign period began) it’s a no brainer at this stage on who you will be for in May, 2016 : Between 1) an alleged plunderer with mountains of credible evidences against him, 2) a foul mouthed, self confessed killer who admitted to favor dictatorship ala Marcos style who secretly favors BBM, 3) a neophyte facing DQ cases, who chose the remnants of Marcos regime to surround her, 4) a seriously ill candidate – versus 5) one who is tested, experienced, not so old, healthy and qualified, with no record of corruption in all his years of government service. I agree. The masa can be excused for still being undecided for now, but the obviously educated ones? I see and read them everyday in the social media.

                We only have 3 months, and I am not being coy, here. Am working really hard to help get Mar elected so we can have continuity, in my own small way. It’s not a kampi kampihan thing (like children playing)…it’s a fight between good and evil, you have to take sides now, or at least, soon, or evil will triumph. That has been like that ever since the Marcos days. There has never been a true closure, we might have chased away the Godfather plunderers from Malacanang but the mafia members are still very much in place….you can easily spot who are and who are not because they are so powerful and were able to recruit (some voluntary joined) even some of those who fought against them before (Binay).

                Sorry if I have been so blunt as to hurt other people’s sensibilities. It is without malice.

                If so, then I apologize.

              • Mary I understand your passion on this matter… I tend to think more like an attorney…

                Behold, I am sending you like sheep among wolves, so be wise as snakes and innocent as doves, Matthew something… better not open angles of attack, or defend what is obvious.

                In my article on Philippine Presidential candidates, I have left out what is known but cannot be fully proven, especially to those who wish to ignore it, and concentrated on the stuff that can be proven 100%. So I don’t repeat anything about Duterte’s Death Squads, or Poe’s connections to certain oligarchs, or Binay’s cases. I concentrate on their lack of competence and their untrustworthiness while acknowledging their few strengths, while placing the few mistakes Mar has made in proper context. Ganyan dapat ilaban ang kaso.

              • I got you, Irineo.

                Let’s just say it’s good to have different weapons in our arsenal. A different tactic in every situation, case to case basis. There are so many of them out there and time is running out. We are talking here among ourselves, preaching to a choir as they say. Out there, it’s different, so we should use different approaches depending on situations and circumstances.

              • Caliphman says:

                Irineo, I find that attitude completely abhorrent as well. Its why the hardcore Binay, Duterte and Marcos supporters turn a blind eye to their ‘manok’s corruption, tyranny, and dark past…because of an unthinlking, uncaring, dronish ‘us versus them’ mentality.

                This election is not about Roxas against Poe, its against stopping the looming threat of a dynastic kleptocracy or dictatorship plunging the country into a dark age. This Supreme Court case is not the final battle as Roxas supporters would have it, one that completely crushes Poe camp and gives a glimmer of hope to their sides dim campaign prospects. Never mind that in such an aftermath, its more likely that foundlings, justice and the whole country loses. Well if its all just whether the house of Roxas vanquishes that of Poe, then a pox on all your houses.

      • MRP, yes, Mar was in the U.S. more than Grace Poe and nobody asked about Mar’s residency status if he had given up his Filipino citizenship.

        Precisely because unlike Poe, he did not give up his Filipino citizenship even if going to politics was not his plan. He only did because his brother died.

        Poe gave up her Filipino citizenship in favor of a US citizenship because at that time she has no plans of joining politics. She then renounced her US citizenship when she thought she had a chance to be in a higher government position.

        That’s a great difference.

        • sonny says:

          From this remote viewing of the presidential tenure, I’ve often wondered about the effectivity and wisdom of such time-rendering. Now I see a little bit of light: a virtual continuity exists between PNoy and Sen Mar (as the anointed), and there is the broken line connection of the Philippine VP office to the incumbent. I’m referring to the more solid line connection of the American VP to the US president. The Philippine version is more vulnerable to politics for good and bad. The American version is favorable given the bureaucratic size and history of the US government.

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          Here is the kink, Poe was not considered a Filipino because she’s a foundling. She never gave up “citizenship” because she’s not a citizen of any country …..

          If she was not a citizen of any country HOW DID THE U.S. EMBASSY IN MANILA VETTED HER DOCUMENTS TO IMMIGRATE TO AMERICA?

          ANOTHER $64.00 QUESTION … If she renounced her US citizenship, there got to be a paperwork ….

          • I wrote in another comment that it was very common – allegedly – that birth certificates were faked before. NCSO only created a centralized database very late, I think 1990s.

            Sloppiness and negligence was common in Philippine government. I remember how a clerk at the Embassy typed the address of the groom correctly, the SAME address of the wife incorrectly they were already living together, but did not correct it even if they asked for correction… so the documents bore the misspelled address of the wife. I have seen old documents regarding my grandfather where his name was spelled Irineo (correct), Ireneo and Ereneo Salazar. Seems many government people held Mexican siestas on the job…

            When it came to birth certificates, often they were – I handled applications for Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage at the Embassy in the late 1980s – not even there, but replaced by affidavits and baptismal certificates, because city hall had burnt down.

            I wonder how many city halls burnt down because of stuff that to just had disappear.

            On the other hand, legal requirements we had to check for strictest compliance, maybe just because it was not good to get caught not complying. The system was totally absurd. What I wonder is why the requirements for Poe were not thoroughly checked when she ran for Senator. But then again, I am not really surprised. They had difficulty collecting taxes effectively for known and registered companies and persons, BIR only was able to fix its collection process recently. How much of the economy still remains underground?

            How many poor people plain just don’t exist on paper? Or maybe just “exist” from time to time when needed? Now 4Ps and Comelec use biometrics. The Philippine passport also. But the state effectively still does not control wide areas of the country. NPAs in outlying areas still collect revolutionary taxes. Some say they are a main reason for poverty in the provinces. How many slums are no-go zones even for police? I have read a comment in FB from a DSWD employee (?) that they do a risky job at times checking 4Ps compliance. It was when somebody noted that there are people that cheat on 4Ps. For sure there are, just like there are dole bludgers in Australia, USA, Germany who work illegally on the side.

          • “ANOTHER $64.00 QUESTION … If she renounced her US citizenship, there got to be a paperwork ….”

            Yep, there got to be a paper work, paper work that I hear Grace filled out but with misrepresented data so she can avail of RA 9225, stating there that she is the biological daughter of the Poes, as that RA can only be availed of by NBFC, In that, the Bureau of Immigration was sloppy as it is common knowledge even then that Poe is a foundling.

            MRP, please be informed for the nth time that Poe is considered Filipino citizen, (presumed as of now because Congress failed to enact the required law to implement applicable international laws that would prevent statelessness for foundlings – there has to be a Congress action required – “by operation of law”) but not natural born citizen because our constitution follow the blood relationship and not the place of birth in determining citizenship – Comelec decision and SET dissenting opinions.

            I think we have discussed this before, but I will not tire of offering my own layman’s agreement of the above opinion again for the benefit of new readers in this forum.

      • Binay 30%
        Grace Poe 24%
        Mar 21 %
        Duterte 20 %
        but the race is between Duterte and Binay?

  17. MRP

    Mar Roxas for President…yahoo!

  18. NHerrera says:

    Off topic

    On the portion of the current Reopening of Mamasapano Investigation where Enrile’s contention of non-care of the President to SAF deaths in comparison to the President’s interest on the death of Marwan, Senator Guingona sharply blunted Enrile’s view.

    I am beginning to appreciate the virtue of this Investigation reopening, because it serves to balance and clear up the negatives and the positives — meaning, for example, clearing up some inuendos, such as coming from an Enrile out for revenge in spite of his preamble.

    • Madlanglupa says:

      And then we have BBM. Some reactions I’ve read regarding his grandstanding were of anger, in that Mamasapano was small compared to the great terror of Martial Law.

    • josephivo says:

      And the strong unspoken messages to the public:

      1- If you have the money and you lie about your health as Enrile does you get free, if you make witnesses disappear and lie about your wealth as Binay you stay free, or if you lie about your marriage as many celebrities you get an annulment. If you are honest and tell the truth you are an idiot, if you have no money you are an idiot too.

      2- Enrile: “You see, my intervention is political. So is the intervention of Trillanes against Binay”

      • Allegedly Imelda once said: “some are smarter than others”. The term “smart” was used a lot by certain types of people even during the Cory period, one of them a “poor” version of Napoles who knew how to maximize diplomatic privileges as an Embassy employee. She knew what stuff costed at the American PX where all had IDs, she knew how often one could import a luxury car tax-free to the Philippines, the networks of rich buyers for cars…

        Not one thing she was “expert” in was illegal – but she was totally focused on that stuff.

        Filipino “survival instincts” honed by centuries of oppression. The simple version was knowing how to skirt immigration rules if one was an illegal, and where to get fake passports with new names if one was deported, if one was legal how to get benefits from the government including unemployment and housing allowance, and still work illegally on the side. On the other side of course those who worked very hard, legally and illegally, and the honest people in the Embassy – whom the others told “your reward is in heaven”..

        In fact what surprises me nowadays is that there is a sizable group of people who have a culture of honesty at all. Used to be that the honest kept to themselves and kept quiet. The few honest people who came in after 1986 were outnumbered by the Marcos loyalists.

        I used to process applications for “Legal Capacity to Contract Marriage” at the Embassy. My personal estimate is that around 30-50% of those who applied to marry Germans were already married in the Philippines and faked their affidavits by “disinterested persons” who certified that their neighbor was single. NCSO only established a centralized national database of marriages, births etc. sometime in the 1990s. I think that TCTs for land only were created this century, with centralized Register of Deeds, before it was Torrens Titles on paper which were established during American rule, before that the Spanish land titles did not even have measurements, only who the neighbors were in four directions. In a system were real government hardly existed, people “got by”. At least now there is biometric registration of voters. It used to be birth certificates and thumbprints. With the 4Ps millions of people are now registered biometrically. How many of them did not exist officially before, much like the “Dead Souls” in Nikolai Gogol’s novel of feudal Russia?

    • Sharing some posts by some FB friends:

      Cynthia Patag
      55 mins ·

      by Philip Jr Lustre

      LACK OF PUBLIC ENTHUSIASM. I have been watching over the past two hours the televised proceedings of the reopening of the Senate probe “in aid of legislation” of the Mamasapano encounter. At the same time, I see the threads of social media to see the sentiments arising from the proceedings. All I can say is that I don’t see any perceptible surge of public enthusiasm. I don’t see much tweets or posts. They are not that intense and passionate about the Senate inquiry. All I can read are posts questioning the motives of the initiator of the probe – Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile. Many people or netizens do not think that Enrile was sincere in the reopening of the probe. One netizen said it is in aid of Gigi Reyes. It would appear that the public is not biting his ploy. The news anchors of the GMA-7 said it all: There was nothing new. What have been said in the inquiry was already said and indicated in previous public hearings. The resource persons, including retired PNP chief DG Greg Catapang, were in unison to claim that the chain of command was never broken. What I can say is that we have shed many tears on this tragedy. We have learned many lessons. It’s time to move on. The senselessness of this inquiry does not allow us to move on. Scheming politicians will always be around. But we will be vigilant to expose them.

      And fight them.

      Janet Reyes: It’s a closed book for many Filipinos. The nation is now in the phase of recovery, healing, rebuilding. Even that theory and supposed witness on the “parallel” plan is considered ridiculous by many.

      Marie Bartolome: People i know who happen to comment on it say that the SAF44 should be allowed to rest in peace and their widows and families should not allow themselves to be used.

      • NHerrera says:

        May I add: this Mamasapano Investigation 2 is beginning to really sound anticlimactic — from the “thriller” and impressive narrative of Mamasapano Investigation 1. This continuation of the investigation, in my opinion, is getting ludicrous with the show featuring Enrile and Napenas — both with ax to grind. I notice too Enrile is showing an un-cool syle quite unlike his coolness in the Corona Impeachment Trial — for one who, in his preamble in the current investigation said, it is not about revenge but getting for the truth. Ditto for Napenas who is trying hard to sing a song in concert with Enrile. Disregarding Sotto’s questions — who indeed listens to Sotto — so far the questions from Guingona, Angara, Drilon give a balance to the impression Enrile and Napenas are trying hard to portray.

        (My deceased mother used to say to us children — if you hear only one side of the story, you generally hear an incomplete account if not the wrong side.)

        • NHerrera says:

          Sorry folks. My last post on this thread. I do not believe Poe and Enrile can stretch this Mamasapano Investigation II for a lot of days. No more milk can be squeezed from that dead cow. The Enrile-Napenas show seems like a non-exploding bomb — a dud.

      • Enrile questions US participation in ‘Oplan Exodus’…wadapak!

        • sonny says:

          Mary Grace, my ears! 🙂

          • Sorry, sonny. I must stop this habit of automatic blurting.

            It’s bad enough that the left leaning groups are mouthing anti-US rants, to hear them from our Honorable senators who kicked out the US bases here, who voted against EDCA, and now, this … at a time when our fishermen are being chased away from our own EEZ in the WPS, with our Navy not capable of defending them with even a water canon. We need help from our stronger neighbors, and improve our miltary capabilities, notwithstanding what former President Ramos is saying now about military upgrade being done by the Pnoy admin.

            What then is the use of our Mutual Defense Treaty?

            • sonny says:

              Do blurt, Mary Grace. At least the forum that he thinks he can thumb his nose at is already wise to him and more will be there to see him off. I also see that ex-Sen Saguisag is against the US (albeit a different reason from his 1991(?) vote). Yet I know him to be a reasonable person. (I know St Catherine of Siena is smiling her approval of your blurt).

      • kiddynamite • an hour ago (posted @ PDI)

        If the CIA or the FBI had any hand in this operation I’d rather say… THANK YOU FOR HELPING US KILL AN INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST. Rather than questioning their involvement. Eh ikaw? Ano involvement mo kay NAPOLES??? Puro ka salita at napaka-hypokrito mo! Binuksan mo ung probe para magpabango pero hindi matatago na MAGNANAKAW KA! May sakit kuno, pweh!

      • Another one…(posted at PDI)

        Wazzap • an hour ago

        isnt Enrile supposed to be in jail? why is he interrogating people and why is he even in the senate? he’s supposed to be recuperating somewhere, and reflecting on all his evil deeds. if he’s as strong as the devil, then he should go back to jail. i dont get it.

      • Oooops, a hard hitting one but lots of grains of truth…. (posted at PDI)

        Dan Greek

        Why is this guy allowed to work when he is suppose to be in jail?
        I understand completely why the US was involved at least behind the scenes. They have a whole lot more experience fighting bad guys plus the intel and technology is a thousand times better. Does it make them perfect, absolutely not, especially when the supposed good guys are leaking classified information to the bad guys. I pray to God that China never rises up against the Philippines then all these anti US bleeding hearts will be on their knees begging.The time is now for the younger Filipino generation to take a stand and get these old decrepit corrupt politicians out of office and start looking to the future of the Philippines and their children and grandchildren. If not they will be speaking a new language and it won’t be Tagalog.

        Note from MG:

        ahhh…mandarin?

    • Bernie Villorente · Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

      Like an onion, Juan Ponce is being unraveled piece by piece for the hoax that he is. He boastfully said that he will prove that the President denied the SAF-44 ground and air support in his effort to save the BBL. Imagine his pain when the entire parties involved, Napenas included, denied any orders from the President to stand down.

      Enrile: “You were in Zamboanga City. Did you inform the President about what’s happening?”
      Catapang said “No, sir.”

      Enrile: “Why not? He’s your commander in chief?”
      Catapang: “That’s a PNP operation. The PNP should inform him about what’s happening.”

      Here, Catapang owned Enrile big time! Why expect the Army to function as expected when they were not even considered when the mission was conceived? Take note, “Oplan Exodus” was not a military mission, but a police operation in that the AFP’s involvement wasn’t factored in when the plan was conceived, in fact, the AFP was only informed of the operation “time on target”, or when the operation was underway – because that’s how covert operations work. That was why the AFP and the PAF weren’t able to provide immediate air and ground support.

      I wouldn’t wish that humiliating experience to my enemy. Mr. Enrile sir, cut and run before you become the laughing stock of the nation.

      http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/759241/no-stand-down-order-from-aquino-afp-pnp-execs-tell-senate

      • The word that leaped up to me there is “covert”. It had to be covert because “the supposed good guys are leaking classified information to the bad guys”.

        Another is “time on target”, or when the operation was underway – because that’s how covert operations work.

        Enrile, Poe, – do both of you get it now?

  19. Bill in Oz says:

    Irineo thanks for this comment !

    “You have to limit the dole, because otherwise loads of people would cheat, pretend to have no job but work on an unregistered job. BTW in Germany minijobs have social security (pension claims) but no unemployment insurance – I guess for similar reasons.

    Employers even could “fire” them, then employ them unofficially while they get dole, but since tax collection is now somehow working, the incentive for employers is to employ people officially, since they can deduct expenses. Don’t underestimate the trickster culture.”

    I agree entirely with your comments here..No disagreement at all..There will be ‘dole bludgers’ who try to game the system..( Just as there are here ) And so set things up to stop & minimise them.

    But in my experience in a number of countries, the overwhelming majority of working people want to to be honest in their work & in their lives…And in fact resent the bludgers…I think that working people in the Philippines would be the same if they are allowed to the opportunity…

    • “the overwhelming majority of working people want to to be honest in their work & in their lives…And in fact resent the bludgers” Yep. Even those who have had the habit of being occasional bandits – because it was the only way they knew – can learn to be honest.

      One only has to show them that the honest way works better and also pays off, more slowly maybe but more surely… but if one is too harsh on them and doesn’t give them a chance to legalize their lives, they will continue to cover up for the bigger crooks against the moralists.

      This is the only danger I see in the excessive moralism of Daang Matuwid – that it does not cut the small bandits some slack, especially if they happen to be on the wrong side and just did what everybody did before. Some kind of amnesty for whistle-blowers might be the right thing to do, on the condition that they make up for the damage they caused, while helping catch the really big sharks. DOJ I have read does a lot for Witness Protection, I also like what the US FBI does sometimes: use former hustlers to catch the other hustlers. Too many of the followers of Daang Matuwid are way too good to know what kind of stuff was running before. It isn’t advisable to be so good that one is naive and defenceless, or dependent on others for protection – like Cory was. Wise as snakes, innocent as doves…

      • It’s being done, Irineo.

        Ruby Tuason, who participated in the PDAF anomalies, same with the other whistle blower, Benhur Luy. The former Makati VM, Mercado. They dipped their hands in the cookie jar, so to speak, but they were given the chance.

        What chance can you give BBM and Imeldific when they have surreptitiously tried to withdraw their loot from the Swiss banks with the connivance of a bribed government official? When they continually say that Marcos was the best president ever and that their admin was the most peaceful, most progressive one and the country would have been like Singapore if they were not chased away? That until now, they label everyone who have opposed them as communist or communist lovers? They still can’t bring themselves to apologize for the atrocities committed by their minions to the people.

        • Thanks for that information on these whistle blowers.

          BBM and Imeldific… what is frustrating is that the evidence against them is so overwhelming – in fact some of the confiscated stuff is now being auctioned by the government – but they are in high positions, didn’t even go to jail like Erap did for a while. The weaknesses of the justice system are very clear. Ampatuans still on trial and when could they be sentenced? Arroyo in detention but when will they finally press charges?

          The problem is that the government never really made an example of the truly big fishes, had they done that fairly but quickly, the others would have fallen in line, no more issues. Ceaucescu’s son stays out of politics – they dealt with his parents quickly, even harshly. The Americans dealt with the top Nazis in the Nuremberg tribunals – the small Nazis did not make any problems after that. Foot-dragging leads to complaints like regarding Arroyo. Quick trial and sentencing – not execution don’t get me wrong – would have made Aquino’s job much easier in dealing with the other corrupt elements, because they would have seen that he means business. Now the small can point at the big who are not yet sentenced, even claim they are being treated unfairly (Arroyo) or protected (Ampatuan). Not good. What I like is that the Ombudsman seems to be working very quickly on prosecution, how long things take at the Sandiganbayan I don’t know. More than 2 years I think is too much.

          • Irineo

            All your questions and sound opinions can be truly answered by the justice department. The President is prohibited to meddle in there.

            On Arroyo, things could have been speedier if the SC did not thumb down the proposed Truth Commission. Sir edgar has a very good assessment of that missed opportunity for a speedy justice. As of now, I hear that it is Arroyo’s legal team that is causing the court’s delay, what with all the manifestations here, manifestations there, rescheduling here and there. And yet they have the gall to complain that Arroyo is being held without the proper charges being filed. The plunder charge is not bailable, hence the detention, a luxurious detention in the top floor of the government hospital where she can hold court to dignitaries visiting her, with doctors and nurses dancing attendance 24/7 all paid for by the government, while the detained ex-Prez, now detained congresswoman is still drawing salaries and discretionary allowances from Congress and who has filed her CoC for another term as she is so well loved by her Pampanga District, oh my – such injustice being done to GMA. The nerve of this current admin!

  20. Bill in Oz says:

    Hi Edgar.Re ” I have heard of Filipinos here taking advantage, not really of unemployment benefits, but of the age pension. You are aware that the pension rates for singles are much higher than for a couple? Well, guess what? Some couples have gone through simulated divorce to obtain the advantage.”
    .I am learning something every day..But I assume you mean a simulated ‘separation’ rather than a divorce ( or annulment )..No I did not know this about single pensions compared to married ones. I guess here it would be more difficult because of the capacity to check addresses and match data via computers..

    I still think there is value in unemployment benefits along the lines suggested by Irineo..

  21. NHerrera says:

    Well that is that. Mamasapano II hearing is terminated or adjourned. Senate President Drilon suggested terminated. Meeting Chair Poe said adjourned.

    Terminate — to bring to an end.

    Adjourn — to suspend the meeting of (a club, legislature, committee, etc.) to a future time, another place, or indefinitely.

    I suppose one way of viewing that is Senators Poe and Enrile either individually or jointly will do a postmortem and see if they will continue with the witch-hunt considering today’s dud of a hearing.

    I will not do a gainers or losers assessment. Too obvious to state.

    • Poe is being politically tuso (this time she is really smart) and keeping her options open.

      She is actually dropping Enrile, in my analysis, without officially making more enemies.

      Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones, they say over here in Germany.

    • Joe America says:

      The only additional losers I think were Honasan with his elaborate opening speech trying to extol the chain of command, and Marcos who autocratically forced Senator Poe to accede to Enrile’s going past his one hour. At that point, Senator Poe lost control of the meeting until lunch saved her. At least she and Senator Escudero tread a neutral ground, and she actually articulated for TRUTH at one point. I was proud of her . . . for that moment . . . but not for agreeing to this waste of a meeting without knowing Enrile’s game plan. Purisima was knocking home run after home run. I was proud of him as well . . . for those moments.

      • I thought you are a basketball player. Now you are talking about baseball.

        At the beginning of the thread you wrote about cricket. I am confused. Let’s play pusoy.

      • NHerrera says:

        Yes, Joe, about Honasan — the guy who always starts with an extended preaching like a pastor or a teacher because his brain can’t hold a lot, I suppose. Compare him with Trillanes today.

        I wrote this at Raissa’s:

        Sa Mamasapano Investigation II, naka light-brown suit si Senator Trillanes, maganda ang porma at maganda ang mga tanong. Naiipit nya yata si Napenas — kandidato pagka senador ni Binay ng UNA na may lovey-dovey kay Enrile. Hindi lang mahusay ang tanong ni Trill, kung hindi kailangang makontra ang haka-haka ni Enrile, ang kalaban ni Trill sa Senado.

        • Joe America says:

          I think Senator Honasan should become a preacher, now that you mention it. His little beginning oration was good, except that everyone knew it was political claptrap. I think Senator Trillanes is searching for relevance, and likes the “Lone Ranger” persona, without the mask. Cayetano used to be Tonto until he went south.

          • NHerrera says:

            🙂

          • Cayetano is tonto now – it means stupid both in Spanish and Filipino.

            He is still smart but is acting real stupid or just plain weak like Will has noted.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              Whenever I hear or see the word “tonto” i see the Indian sidekick to Lone Ranger..The cowboys & Indians kids films & TV serial of my youth…Is Cayetano an Indian side kick to Trillanes..Or have I missed something ?

              • Bill in Oz

                Trillanes, Pimentel and Cayetano used to join forces in the Senate Blue Ribbon Sub-Committee hearings ivestigating various Binay alleged plunder, hence Tonto. Now Irineo says Pimentel and Cayetano became tonto (stupid) for joining forces with the self-confessed Davao City dictator Duterte who was on record as saying that if he is disqualified by Comelec and Supreme Court, he will campaign for Binay, the man they exposed as an alleged plunderer.

              • Joe America says:

                They were partners on the Blue Ribbon Subcommittee investigating Binay plunder.

    • NHerrera says:

      Poe: politically smart no doubt. Juanito Furagganan aka Juan Ponce Enrile: the damage of age showing. He needs to rest. Gee whiz, at 92 does he have to keep on going. I suppose if the testosterone is kapot you have to show that you still got it some other ways. I suggest he joins us here — with Joe’s permission — have some intellectual engagement or fun. 🙂

  22. sonny says:

    Kudos all around, Bill in Oz!

    Lots of takeaways for an old fence-sitter. Thank you!

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Sonny, we say that life is uncomfortable sitting on a fence – especially if it’s barbed wire one !!

      This post was done with a lot of help from folks here on this blog..In some ways this was like 5000 piece jig saw puzzle.. I had lots of help finding the key pieces of the jig saw…And that enabled me to paint the big picture I eventually painted…

  23. chempo says:

    Bill, I like to share Singapore’s social security. Off the top of my mind and in brief, dis-organised fashion.

    We have only one pension fund…Central Provident Fund. The CPF is govt run. Everyone contributes — part time, fulltime, civil servants, all workers. Employee contributions are progressive depending on salary. Employer contribution only one fixed rate. There is a salary max beyond which no contributions necessary. Self-employed may opt for voluntary contributions. Employee contributions are tax allowed.

    CPF earns at a rate guarantee by govt which is slightly above market interest rates. The funds are invested in special securities which earns the guaranteed rates. Such rates may be revised over time. The purpose of the securities is to promote the local securities market. The govt are statute bound not to use the funds for any other purpose. So no Maldoff shenanigans are possible. We sleep soundly at night.

    Singapore has the highest rates of savings, so the govt over time has allowed us to make use of some portion of our CPF money before we retire. It is like we are lending to ourselves. We take out for some approved usage, then we need to pay back into our own account, not necessary to top up interest. Some of the things we can use for — education loans for our kids, investment in share market and purchase of housing. The govt has arrived at certani minimum sum that we cannot touch, that being the min that can afford us a decent life on retirement. On sahre investments — if we make profits, the winnings can be withdrawn, if looses, when we close the shre trading account, we need to top up our CPF a/c. The housing loan is mmost interesting. We take a bank loan, then we can use portion of our CPF balance to payoff bank loan, and portion of monthly contribution to part payment of monthly amortisement. That way, loan amortisation is light on our cash salalry. Because of this arrangement, many of us are able to afforf to buy houses. It has made Singapore one of the highest in terms of home ownership in the world. It also helps in nation building. Because a people of immigrants who own their own homes are not likely to rock the boat.

    A portion of own CPF is used to set up hospitalisation arrangements. We can use this to help defray hospitalisation cost of parents and children. This has been very useful.

    We frown on freebies. Thus there is no unemployment benefits. There are social welfare agencies to help the needy. An employments agencies to help find jobs.

    There is a Workmens Compensation Insuranceance. This looks after the lower waged workforce. Filipino OFWs get better coverage in Singapore than in Phils.

    There is a payroll tax paid by employers. This is a very small percentage. The funds are used for various activities that benefits workers.

    Other than this, most people who are better off have additional insurance coverage with private insurance companies.

    • chempo says:

      Forgett\ yo mention, workmens comp is paid by employers.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Thanks Chempo for the outline of the way social security is organised in Singapore. I confess I know very little about Singapore and the way it is organised beyond the fact that the one political party ( People’s Action Party ) has been in power since 1955…

        I agree completely about ” a people of immigrants who own their own homes are not likely to rock the boat.”. Since the 1940’s governments here have always encouraged home ownership..I think currently 71% of people own their own home or are paying off mortgages to banks. ( Governments have done this by first home owners grants, subsidised interest rate loans for the poor and a gamut of other measures )

        In a small rich country like Singapore with 4 million people I think it possible to manage without unemployment benefits…( And introducing it could create great incentives for people from Indonesia to try to migrate to Singapore with significant social disruption )

        But I still tend towards thinking that it would be a big benefit in the Philippines for the reasons i have said earlier..

        But think about this..OFW’s at the moment do not necessarily contribute to SSS ..Some do most don’t..But I suggest that almost all would if they could receive unemployment benefits ( even for a limited period ) when a contrcat in say Kuwait finishes..

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Edgar & have forgotten to mention that Workers Compensation in Oz is all handled by state based workers compensation funds…These are funded by employers & are usually about 2% of annual payroll… However the emphasis in recent years has been on rehabilitation after an injury so that a worker can resume working life..rather than a simple pension..

      • chempo says:

        Oh I forgot again one more point. When we retire, we take one big lumpsum out except the minimum sum of 100,000 in our ordinary a/c and abt 30,000 in a medisave a/c. From the 100,00 we have 2 schemes of pauout, a monthly sum till death, undrwan sum forefeited. Or certain sum for 20 years — if death occurs before that, beneficiaries get the balance. The lumpsum we withdraw is substantial — the rational is the sum is for you to re-invest yourself after retirement or do whatever you want. There are many stories of young China girls going after lonely old men , such is life.

        Our workmens comp pays a fair sum. EG in Philippines, a third party insurance will pay for a traffic death 100,000 pesos. Our workmens comp pays about 150,000 for one severed finger. There have been tales of Indian foreign workers sacrificing a finger to get the comp to send back to India.

        • chempo

          Ouch…! All for the love of family.

          150K, that’s a lot for one severed finger, exactly equivalent for one kidney being sold here for those with ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease), a trade that has been stopped by DOH, NKI. (Dept. of Health, National Kidney Institute).

          I heard of a story as told by one of our former kasambahays, of one of his brothers who sold one of his kidney to help the family, part of the proceeds he used as DP to buy a motorcycle, later, it almost cost his life in an accident.

          Another story is about that of my niece’s mother -in-law who had ESRD and had a hard time undergoing the seemingly endless dialysis procedures with adverse side effects. They contracted somebody to sell his kidney, the youth temporarily lived in the house of my niece and was coached on what to say to the NKI people. The young man made some mistakes in the interview, got caught and spilled the beans, needless to say, the organ donation did not push through. One daughter ended up donating her own kidney to her almost dead mother. Now, the mother is in good health and the family members are blissfully contented.

  24. For your information, the 4Ps/CCT came from a law created by the Iron Lady.
    #miriam2016

    • Joe America says:

      Thanks for the background on that, Matthew.

    • Yes, Matthew. Enacted and implemented during the time of Arroyo, no one is denying that. It is to the credit of this current admin that they continue programs that they feel is beneficial to the majority of the people and expanded it, not just a token implementation of the previous one.

      Programs and projects specially in DPWH, etc. were scrutinized to do away with corruption and tong pats.

      Mar said he will expand the Daang Matuwid, correct the imperfections, continue the excellent ones – Continuity.

      Continuity. It’s what we need.

    • well bursting your Bubble MDS only has a Senate Bill to her name. It isn’t a law yet because MDS is not a good senator in terms of batting average. She files a ton of bills but is not that great at getting people to support her bills.

      • Thanks for that very important clarification, gian. I thought it is already a law. So it is an administration initiative program not yet a law, continued and expanded by PNOY. Billions have been set aside in the annual budgets, which have been approved by Congress, the General Appropriations Act? But not yet a law, hmmm. Why didn’t the Senators enacted this instead of the SSS pension hike, I wonder. As it is, the succeeding admin can do away or continue the 4Ps/CCT.

        Hmmm. Thanks again.

        • karl garcia says:

          because they tried to pass a more stranger than fiction bill,the magna carta for the poor,where funding for housing exceeds the national budget.
          Pnoy vetoed it.

        • Miriam filed a Bill but she like most of her co senators file bills by the hundreds and only a few like Aquino/Villar/Trillanes/Cayetano do the hard work of building consensus to get your bill passed in to law.

          • karl garcia says:

            Dyan tayo palaging nagkakasundo.

          • Thanks, that is a vital piece of information.

            Building consensus among Filipinos is truly hard work.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            @Giancarloangulo

            I read this days ago..But rereading it again I have just realized something..

            The government has no control or very little control of the legislative agenda in the Philippines..
            ..
            Here that sounds quite bizarre as one of the key, key roles of the party elected to government is control of the agenda of parliament. So most of the time that parliament sits is spent debating and deciding on bills presented to the parliament by the government..

            Yes there is the odd private members bill presented but rarely do they get onto the agenda for debate and decision..

            It seems odd to me that the House of Reps & the Senate in Philippines are each doing there own things. And these may or may not be at all relevant to the needs of government. or the country for that matter.

            Sorry to say it Joe..I know that Americans are proud of the US presidential system of government.But it generates a lot of problems in the US and even more, it seems in the Philippines…

            • In the USA it works because you have the two-party system – which the Philippines had before Marcos. Liberal Party and Nacionalista Party were Democrats and Republicans.

              After Marcos you have had the splintered landscape of mini-parties and independents.

            • Culture of impunity that joe has written a lot about. Encapsulated by What are we in power for?

            • Jake says:

              The PH presidential is more disastrous. In the US counts go by electorate, not popular vote. Presidentials also becomes narrowed down to few canditates, therefore less nuisance candidates and easier counting

            • karl garcia says:

              The multi-party system,made it a battle of coalitions.turncoatisms,butterfles,and so on.

              during campaign,the candidate already has a aet of priority measures,after winning
              The executive has to rummage on past legislation,to see what is important and add that to the legislations his cabinet cluster have in mind.
              The legislators have to recycle everything,refile everything even if no one is clamouring for renaming a street,dog or hospital,if they see that it has been filed before,why not file it again.

              So to reduce the number of first priorities,they must have ledacs before each sona.

  25. Comment by a visitor on my Facebook Page (facebook.com/filipinogermanlearning)

    The contribution rates and pensions would have been enough for the 1960s. Unfortunately, adjustments which should have been made (increasing the contributions, with the corresponding pensions, to keep up with the times) were NOT made!!! Such oversight has become clear, so clear, that the Government is being asked to make up for this major oversight and to establish realistic contribution rates, with the corresponding realistic pensions. The Boards under the different Administrations should have been the primary movers but they were so concerned with their bonuses from SSS and their allowances from PSE-listed corporations (in which SSS have board seats) that they forgot and overlook the welfare of their members through the years!!! So the SAD story is the same for other big and small government agencies, as regards their members or clients. The leaders of an Administration could have remedied the situation by appointing people motivated by a sense of PUBLIC SERVICE, (not merely party mates or political benefactors), supported by lawmakers concerned with the greater good rather than perpetuating themselves and relatives in office.

  26. From CPM Sykes: https://raissarobles.com/2016/01/04/senator-bongbong-marcos-for-vice-president-in-2016/comment-page-4/#comment-360442 – a look at the dirty kitchen… 😦

    on a related issue, sana lang yang CCT na yan ay properly implemented. i have observed that some parents are treating their kids as cash cows. pag natanggap ang pera, naglalasing, nagsusugal o pumupunta ng parlor. isang araw lang “mayaman” tapos nganga na naman.

    some kids seeing how their parents piss away CCT money see no point in going to school. but the other problem is on the gov’t side. DepEd puts the burden on teachers to make these students attend school. and some DSWD social workers would urge the teachers to look the other way on chronic absenteeism kasi “nandyan naman ang pondo”…hay naku…!

  27. Jake says:

    SSS is a pension system, not health insurance. Why should pregnant women be covered(PhilHealth, anyone)? Why should there be “unemployment benefits” in a pension system. Adding these will necessitate a huge increase in contributions

  28. eag97a says:

    A few thoughts;

    1. I think the maximum contribution has increased to 700 pesos.

    2. Casuals and the self-employed have the option of voluntarily contributing out of pocket and so people that has left employment but has some source of income can continue and reap the benefits when they retire. The takeaway here is more information dissemination so the casuals and self-employed can have the choice of buying into it or not.

    3.If the SSS was modeled after its US counterpart then it should be noted that Social Security was designed originally to supplement your retirement nest egg and/or retirement income. People are still free to save up on their own or enroll on a private pension for themselves or any other option that will help out their eventual retirement. I understand that with the incomes of our poorest sector really limits their option when it comes to saving and/or investing nevertheless they have to work with that and put away a bigger portion of their income for retirement. As always the better option is to increase your income capacity/potential to have more options with regards to saving/investing etc.

    4. I feel the plight of our retirees but voting for across the board increases will be a stopgap and will create more problems down the road. Chaining the increases to inflation is very good idea and I support that wholeheartedly because at the most basic level it insures that the increase is revenue-neutral.

    5. Entrusting the fund to professional fund managers is a must but we have to guard against them making risky bets and hedges that will endanger the funds solvency. We have to remember that essentially the funds’ investment horizon is in perpetuity with its obligations and liabilities constantly changing in accordance with demographic changes.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      eag97a..What about simply forgetting what the US did in the 1930’s ? Often the yanks simply get things very very wrong. What about looking at what actually will work & is needed now in 2016 Phiippines ? And what about recognising the role that Philippino governments have played in causing massive inflation and devaluing by a factor of 100 the worth of SSS payments made by Filippinas in the period from 1970 to 2000… There is no point in anybody ‘saving’ money for retirement when the likes of the Ferdinand Marcos and his cronies destroy the economy…

    • Bill in Oz says:

      ” Entrusting the fund to professional fund managers is a must but we have to guard against them making risky bets and hedges that will endanger the funds solvency.”

      I have the option f deciding for myself what type of investment strategy I want my Superannuation fund to pursue..If I as an individual want a conservative ( capital stable ) investment strategy.. I ask for this and my super fund annual return will show this.If I want a more risky high return growth strategy I ask them to do this..And my annual return statement will show this..There is no need for government direct supervision or laws on this…

  29. Great read, the article and the comments!

    There’s this Personal Equity and Retirement Account or PERA Act of 2008. Is this similar to Superannuation of Oz?

    http://www.bsp.gov.ph/regulations/laws/RA9505_IRR.pdf

    • Bill in Oz says:

      Vora In Australia superannuation is compulsory..If I earn $100, then my employer must contribute an additional $9.00 to the Super fund that I nominate..In other words it’s part of the salary/wage entitlement.And.I can deposit additional money if I choose to do so.
      This applies for all employees in Australia whether permanent, part time or casual or endo..

      Looking through ( very quickly ) the link you put up, I see that the PERA is a scheme for voluntary contributions by a member ( NOT the employer ) for his or her future retirement…

      The 2 schemes are thus very different

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      1. PERA seems to be patterned after Super(annuation).

      2. Similarities:

      2.1. Objectives: Personal retirement planning with a view to lessening government participation.

      2.2. Structure: Administrator, custodian, investment manager, contributor are the same, except that with Super the investment managers have ties in with the custodian and not directly with the contributor. All entities, except contributor, are private corporations.

      2.3. Self-management of funds: This is supported by both schemes.

      2.4. Contributions:

      2.4.1. Annual contributions are capped.
      2.4.2. Tax concessions in Super are a low tax rate on inflow; in PERA there is a 5% tax credit.
      2.4.3. Earnings are tax free. This is a huge selling point.

      2.5. Investments: Strategy of conservative, moderate, and aggressive are the same. With Super, it is age-based but is under the contributor’s control.

      2.6. Termination: Funds may be withdrawn as a lumpsum or as an annuity.

      3. Differences:

      3.1. Structure: The regulatory agency is BSP for PERA; ASIC (SEC equivalent) for Super.

      3.2. Contributions:

      3.2.1. Super is mandatory for all employees; PERA is voluntary and seems to be directed particularly at OFWs.
      3.2.2. The Super rate is mandated by the government, currently at 9.5% of salary; there is no expressed rate for PERA.
      3.2.3. With PERA, contributor can maintain 5 accounts by investment category. With Super, the number of accounts is by employer, but accounts are usually consolidated into one. With Super, the choice of investment categories lies with the investment managers, of which there may be several tied in with the custodian. The contributor may instruct the custodian which investment managers he prefers, and is thus in control indirectly of investment categories.

      3.3. Termination:

      3.3.1. With Super, the preservation age is 60 in contrast to PERA which may be as early as age 55.
      3.3.2. With Super, pre-withdrawal before the preservation age is available but only under stringent conditions such as disability, emigration, financial hardship, etc. With PERA, no reason is necessary except for a tenure limitation of 5 years.
      3.3.3. With Super, there is a marked distinction between the contribution phase and the payout phase. The contributory policy turns into an annuity policy.
      3.3.4. While lumpsum withdrawal is allowed, an income stream (annuity) is encouraged. In past years, retiring Aussies would take the lumpsum option, travel around the world and live it up, then rely on the government pension. I believe the government pension system has been tightened to plug this weakness in retirement planning.
      3.3.5. The income stream amount is limited to min/max thresholds in which the size of the fund and the contributor’s life span are taken into consideration.

      What stands out for me between PERA and SSS are two things:

      1. With PERA/Super you get what you put in, and you know exactly how much you have by regular reports from the administrator. With SSS you are supported for the term of your life.

      2. Wtih PERA/Super there is competition among custodians (and investment managers); management fees are government regulated, and your fund is not eroded by bonuses to fund managers. With SSS, there is no competition, and the growth of a contributor’s fund lies largely at the expertise — and mercy — of SSS directors; the fund pool is eroded by considerable management overhead including performance bonuses.
      *****

  30. Bill in Oz says:

    It is the 24th of April. Today the Enquirer published a major article on page A18 “Better Social Security For All” by Father Phillipe Andrew Gallinosa from Sorsongon. Given my interest in this topic I read the whole big article..

    Gallinosa starts out be depicting the plight of the poor in the Philippines. One of these is an unmarried 25 year old woman named Janet with 5 small children. And he explains the individual position of some other poor individual & families. He writes clearly and with compassion. I cannot fault him for the details of what he says. Gallinosa goes on to ask that the government ” reform the social structure that causes poverty and the exclusion of the poor” in the Philippines.He quotes Bishop Bastes as saying ” …He lamented the widespread poverty..caused by orrupt & self serving public servants”

    Gallinosa then goes on to explain that Bishop Bastes of Sorsongon has developed a plan to try and help the poor in the Philippines.It is called “Project Serendipity”. This calls for the creation of a sovereign wealth type fund in the Philippines.The fund would be financed by setting aside ” 20% of all revenues, taxes royalties, resources and recoveries by the government, it’s branches, offices and corporations”

    And this is to made a permanent part of the annual budget via a referendum for a constitutional amendment and so binding on all governments in the future….

    ( It is unclear whether the funds obtained each year by the fund will be spent each year or whether only the interest earned is what will be spent each year as with other Sovereign wealth funds..Maybe this will be outlined later )

    Now all this is an interesting proposal. However I have some huge serious questions to ask of Gallinosa.

    He is a priest of the Catholic Church.And the Catholic Church preaches as ‘dogma’ that contraception is evil. In the Philippines the Church opposed the Reproductive Health Act in Congress and the Senate. And recently members of his church ( with support from the clergy ) arranged for the Reproductive Health to not be funded in 2016.

    An obvious consequence of the Church’s opposition to contraception is the high birth rate in the Philippines.In the past 40 years the population has doubled. The high birth rate is especially high among the poor and those who have less education. The poor here are literally breeding. themselves into deeper & deeper poverty. And this is the part of the population which is most influenced by the church and it’s clergy.

    I will put it bluntly like an Australian: the church & clergy are a major cause of the endemic poverty in the Philippines. And the church refuses to recognize it or change it’s behavior or beliefs.

    In the face of this simple reality I am extremely sceptical of the Catholic Church’s capacity to be of any help at all in the process of getting rid of poverty in this country.

    A second question : In this country so much detail is governed by detailed laws about everything. But it does not serve the country well. So I am extremely sceptical about a proposal that would tie in knots the governments capacity to determine how revenues are spent each year.

  31. bill in oz says:

    This blog started off as a response to Aquino’s veto on the legislation increasing the minimum monthly social security pension to 1500 pesos.

    It is now May 30th. The Enquirer has just published a report that back on March 22 Aquino approved increasing the monthly salary of SSS executives, De Quirino & Juan Santo by 500,000 pesos …I wonder what the total monthly salary is for each of these 2 SSS executives ?

    But the increase per month is 500,000 pesos.

    The elderly pensioners are still making do with 500 pesos a month because of his veto. But I guess his mates running the show get 500,000 pesos extra.. i guess their cost of living the good life has one up, poor rich darlings …
    Joe, this sort of Aquino decision explains why Duterte is now president elect. It is frankly politically incompetent.

    • Joe America says:

      Well, I know the president is not incompetent, and for sure not politically incompetent, so I have to question the conclusion and/or the information upon which it is based. Also, we have to discuss and understand and agree as to whether we are a socialist nation where people do the work assigned for the wages given, or whether we are a democratic and capitalistic nation where people earn rewards based on the value of their work, and high value people who produce important results are given wages commensurate to that value. That said, I know nothing about the positions or the increases but figure there is probably more to it than what you report.

      • bill in oz says:

        Yes I hope that more info will come to light..But I hold to my opinion ..

        • bill in oz says:

          http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/788084/workers-hit-steep-pay-increase-for-sss-execs

          There is also a longer report online at Interakyon..Interesting even the TUCP which asked it’s members to vote Liberal in the last election, is angry with Aquino. Total monthly salary will now be 800,000 pesos … Good money if you can get it..And not got by open market capitalism but by presidential decree !!!

          ..Here is the report.

          MANILA – Social Security System (SSS) President and Chief Executive Officer Emilio De Quiros will soon receive a P500,000 salary bump, so that he will get a total of P800,000 every month with the implementation of the Compensation and Position Classification System (CPCS) in all government-owned and controlled corporations and government financial institutions.

          However, once the SSS-proposed CPCS becomes effective, around 1,000 SSS rank-and-file workers will not receive any salary increase, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa (TUCP-Nagkaisa) said Thursday, denouncing this situation as “immoral, unjust, and indecent.”

          The labor group is thus urging incoming President Rodrigo Duterte to stop the CPCS implementation, and instead order a review and amendment of the provision on the compensation system.

          In a news release, Nagkaisa-TUCP suggested that the review of Executive Order 203 issued by President Benigno Aquino III on 22 March 2016 giving unconscionable ‘’midnight perks and benefits” to top executives of Social Security System (SSS) should include those provisions on basic salaries, standard allowances and benefits, specific-purposes allowances and benefits, and variable pay.

          Drafted by the Good Governance Commission for Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GCG), EO 203 was signed by Aquino and Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa “adopting a compensation and position classification system (CPCS) and a general index of occupational services (IOS) and for the GOCC sector covered by Republic Act No. 10149, and for other purposes.”

          P2,000 pension raise vetoed

          TUCP-Nagkaisa questioned the move amidst the Aquino veto on the proposed P2,000 pension increase for 2.4 million SSS pensioners on 14 January 2016, the silence even on the counter-proposed P1,000 or P500 pension increases, and in the SSS management rejection of the proposed Expanded Maternity Leave Bill for reason both proposals would affect the actuarial fund life of SSS.

          This also came after workers are still reeling from the measly P10 wage increase granted last week by the National Capital Region-Regional Wages and Productivity Board (NCR-RWPB) despite of the P154 the TUCP-Nagkaisa petition last month.

          Citing adverse effect on SSS funds, President Aquino vetoed the proposed bill allowing for a P2,000 monthly pension increase while SSS top management turned down Expanded Maternity Leave measure that extends maternity leave for private sector women employees from 60 to 78 days to 100 days.

          “We are urging President Duterte to issue a cease and desist order to Executive Order 203 that allows excessive increases in salaries and benefits of top SSS executives on top of what they are currently receiving now. This is obviously a ‘pabaon’ or ‘midnight perks’ for Aquino wards and loyalists at the expense of workers’ and employers’ blood money. We strongly oppose this because this is immoral, unjust and indecent,” said Alan Tanjusay, spokesperson of TUCP.

          Tanjusay said the TUCP received information that SSS President and Chief Executive Officer De Quiros and Chairman Juan Santos are allegedly pushing for the immediate approval of the SSS proposed CPCS salary increases before the new Duterte administration assumes office in June.

          He said that if this is approved and retroactively put into effect, De Quiros and the next holder of PCEO title stands to get an additional almost P500,000 pesos in monthly salary ending up with almost P800,000 monthly salary. This does not include all the monetary and non-monetary benefits provided for by EO 203, current SSS benefits, and what he gets from the SS Commission sitting as Vice Chair and what he gets from corporations where he represents SSS shares.

          “In behalf of millions of SSS paying members and pensioners, the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) denounces and does not condone these highly questionable acts by top government officials,” said Gerard Seno, National Executive Vice President of ALU, an affiliate of TUCP-Nagkaisa.

          • Joe America says:

            That’s one side of the story. I once dated a labor union organizer. Commie through and through, as were all her colleagues. I’m not defending the decision, I’m just defending the need for both sides to be represented in the “story”. What are the guidelines of the Compensation and Position Classification System? What are the salaries based on? International standards or what? What other positions beside SSS are being adjusted? The story suggests the SSS execs are pushing for early approval. Why is the presumption made that President Aquino will approve their request, and is incompetent because he wants to raise salaries for technically demanding jobs, to be able to hire competent people?

            P800,000 per month is about $17,000 per month. Nice salary, for sure.

            Might get some competent people wanting the job . . .

            • Joe America says:

              Here are links to two pertinent executive orders dealing with salaries. 201 is for regular employees and another for GOCC workers.

              http://www.gov.ph/2016/02/19/executive-order-no-201-s-2016/

              http://www.gov.ph/2016/03/22/executive-order-no-203-s-2016/

              I find the article which portrays the President as “unconscionable” to be laughable, in view of the rigor and good intent of the two initiatives.

              • bill in oz says:

                Joe, thanks for the links.. I see a full general on the third tranche gets 95,000 pesos a month..And that the top rate for a civil service official is 340,000 pesos a month. That’s way less than 800,000 pesos monthly salary ( plus perks like driver & car ).

                What is really telling to me is that the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines is protesting this decision by Aquino. The TUCP is not radical leftist. It put big ads in the papers in April /May telling members to vote for the Liberal party on May 9th…

                There is another issue lurking under neath this discussion. What is an appropriate salary range in a country between base grade for those who do low level work and well paid for those with authority. Communist countries in the past aimed at ‘7 times’ over such a range. Socil democrat countries in the past thought ’20 times’ was fair & OK. It’s only the totally out of hand capitalist countries that say anything goes.
                Last week I discovered that the base grade for security guards is 8000 pesos a month. That’s a lower paid level job, despite the huge responsibility..So I’ll ue that as a base grade salary unit. Twenty times that is 160,000 pesos a month…And that is nowhere near 800,000 pesos a month..

                And then there is below the salaried workers the ‘under belly people’ those struggling to survive on casual work or selling stuff or trawling through rubbish & homeless in the slums.We have just been watching ‘The Slum’ on Al Jazerra.. about Tondo here in Manila Awfull heart wrenching viewing.. These folks are ‘living’ on about 1500 a month !

                Flagrant, uncontrolled capitalism discredits itself and destroys the countries where it operates..I hope you are not advocating more of that here. The rift between super rich and desperately poor is so huge already.
                Social Security is a normal way in modern countries to redistribute wealth and so lesson the that huge rift…So it should be in the Philippines

            • bill in oz says:

              The Enquirer yesterday in it’s business section had a featured news story “Duterte Urged to Re-think Plan to hike SSS Pension”

              A group of economists are urging Duterte to not put SSS minimum monthly payments up to 2000 pesos a month.

              Why ? Because most of the people who will benefit from the ‘large’ (?) increase in pension payments will receive much more than they have contributed before they retired,”

              Ahhh dear !!! Such stupid ill trained or forgetful economists. Have they completely forgotten about the impact of inflation ? The massive Inflation caused by the utterly stupid & kleptocratic Marcos dictatorship lasting 14 years ? The slightly less massive inflation of Aroyo’s 10 years ?

              The Philippines government set up SSS. and set the contribution scale. Filipino governments by stupidity or theft made those contributions worthless after they had been paid by SSS members. The Philippines government has a moral & legal duty to make good what has happened for all these very poor elderly SSS pensioners.

              Aquino delayed. Aquino refused to recognise this moral duty. I suspect that many pensioners remembered this veto by Aquino last December. And paid out on hi designated heir Roxas. By contrast Duterte has promised to pay the increase. No doubt it can be deducted from the 260 billion pesos saved over the past 6 years.

              Sorry Joe this was a monster stuff up. And betrays how remote & lacking in empathy Aquino is for the many many poor pensioners who worked for this country when young.

              • Joe America says:

                The president has many moral obligations, one of which is the long term well-being of the SSS fund. We keep arguing the same arguments. I suggest you direct your moral outrage at the Legislature for failing to attach the companion funding measure. Sorry you buy the social media myth about the president having no compassion because he makes a business decision you disagree with. It is the kind of unforgiving, personal commentary that poisons discussions on social media.

              • bill in oz says:

                Joe,I do not use the social media. Nor am I outraged. But I stand by my position.In Australia the pensions of retirees are indexed to take account of inflation.I assume that the same happens in the USA. It certainly happens in other countries I am familiar with like the UK, France and even Argentina.
                In one sense this is ‘personal’. My lsdy’s mother is 60 born in 1855. And commenced her working life at age 15. Through her own efforts as a working mum she had her own small fish wholesaling business and made her SSS contributions for over 20 years. Her monthly SSS pension now is 500 pesos. She is one of the 2 million. By the way she voted ‘Du Ro’ which is a very interesting combination

                It’s easy to say That was due to the inflation that came with Marcos’ theft and stupidity. That implies dealing directly with the Marcos family mob now. . But Marcos was the president of the government for 21 years till EDSA. The stuff up’s he & his cronies made were made in the name of the government of the Philippines. There is an obligation on ‘government’ and that includes the congress & senate.

                But we may never agree on this.

              • Joe America says:

                We never will as long as you lay history on the current president and the label of not being compassionate as a condemnation of some kind of western moral superiority that sets your wisdom and information above that of the Philippine President who is not uninformed, stupid or lacking compassion. He has a nation to run. It is not Australia. It is a poverty wracked nation with many, many demands on the streams of revenue that are just now approaching the levels needed to improve many, many areas of service. He chooses to feed the starving and let the elderly fall into the safety net of family care, a deeply embedded tradition in the Philippines. Your harsh judgment is precisely the kind of outside righteousness that I have spoken to repeatedly, that paints all of us outsiders as self-declared beacons of superiority, when we don’t know jack. It is best to see the whole picture, not the burr under your saddle, and to understand that this, really, is not Australia.

                I know the benefits of a good SSS system. It’s what I’m living off of, in part. It is what is providing my child’s education at a good school here, as he gets benefits, too. The Philippines will eventually get there if it keeps moving forward and up, and increasing its means. If it goes backward, then you have a real complaint you can levy at that time, as you will echo the cries of many Filipinos. But if you choose to disparage the President of the Philippines, when that disparagement is short-sighted and in fact incorrect, then I am obligated to defend. I don’t wish to be seen as compliant with outside . . . . well, as my thinking was characterized early on . . . arrogance.

              • Joe America says:

                As an issue, your point that the laws don’t provide indexing is a legitimate criticism of a LOT of laws in the Philippines. Building codes are a part of national law, so if different standards are required to get rid of asbestos or use larger nails, the Legislature has to tend to that. They are sooooo busy tending to the nits that they never address the big laws like land use. So that criticism of the law-making methods is definitely spot on.

                A lot of laws are burdened with details and not properly indexed or delegated.

              • bill in oz says:

                Phil Star ( page 2 ) today states that Emelio de Quiros Jr. the president of SSS in 2014 received 4.2 million pesos as chief executive officer and a further 2.6 million pesos for being a board member/commissioner. Total remuneration in 2014 = 6.8 million pesos.

                In December Aquino chose to veto the SSS pension increase bill by Congress. In March Aquino then chose to sign off on an increase of 500,000 pesos a month for the SSS boss. He also chose to not publicise this decision so it remained confidential till 3 weeks ago …

  32. Ella Ventura says:

    Why not government implement to lower thr age coverage for pensioner. Like at age of 50 since lives of filipinos nowadays are very short. Why no senators thought about a senate bill for that , I remember my grand father during marcos time he was receiving pension already at the age of 50 yrs old. Who else can benifit if a member already died early, nothing. Especially if his/her children are 22 yrs old? Just saying this things.And I hope govt shoul think about this.

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  1. […] in Oz had an excellent article The SSS in the Philippines. Being an observer from the outside, he studied our situation first and offered solutions. He also […]

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