MANILA, Philippines - Aside from Caloocan City, nearly 300 other local government units (LGUs) have been delinquent in payment of employee contributions to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
In an interview over dzMM, GSIS general manager Margie Jurillo said these agencies and their heads are facing penal sanctions for violating Republic Act 8291, also known as the GSIS Act of 1997, which mandates employers to collect and remit contributions of pension fund members.
"Marami-rami po ang delayed o hindi nakakabayad... halos 300 ahensya. Karamihan po dito ay local governments," Jurillo said.
"Kapag ho ganito, suspended po ang ahensya, 'di makakapag-avail ang empleyado ng ano mang benepisyo, loans and dividends."
Jurillo said the suspension can only be lifted once the affected agency enters into a memorandum of agreement with GSIS on the resumption of contribution payments until the agency's full obligation is paid.
In the case of Caloocan, for example, she said GSIS has formed a team that includes a representative of current Mayor Enrico Echiverri to "reconcile" records of the city government and GSIS on contributions, and determine the exact amount of obligation.
Echiverri and three other officials of Caloocan are facing charges for non-remittance of over P341 million employee contributions to GSIS.
"Ngayon may meeting kami. May mga empleyado ng Caloocan na nag-retire na pala or namatay na. Magbibigay sila ng updated service record sa GSIS," Jurillo said.
Jurillo then came to the defense of Echiverri, saying that bulk of Caloocan's obligation to the agency was incurred during the terms of the two mayors before him.
"Yung payable nila sa GSIS mula July 1997 to June 2011. Hindi pa mayor si Echiverri. Out of the P341 million, malaki dito na babayaran nung panahon ni Mayor (Macario) Asistio and Mayor (Reynaldo) Malonzo. Kay Mayor Echiverri P5.2 million lang," she said.
The Office of Ombudsman ordered the suspension of Echiverri on the basis of the complaint filed against him by Caloocan vice mayor Edgar Erice.
Echiverri has filed a petition before the Court of Appeals to block the suspension order. He maintained he was faithful in remitting contributions to GSIS.
One solution to the GSIS problem, meanwhile, is a centralized payroll system that the Aquino government plans to adopt next year, according to Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
He said under the plan, salaries of state workers will no longer go through agencies, but will be deposited by the national treasury directly to government banks after deducting GSIS premium contributions and the withholding tax.
"Imbes na bababa pa ang pera sa ahensya, ang magiging central pay master, yung treasury. Ihahanda ng agencies ang payroll, isu-submit sa treasury, tapos treasury ang didirecho ng pera sa bank accounts ng empleyado," he said.
Abad said the IT infrastructure for the system is now being readied so it can be rolled out by the second quarter of 2012.
"Magkakaroon ng bidding para dyan. Ang DBM, Commission on Audit, Department of Finance and Treasury naguusap dun sa design at sistema para ma-pilot test at implement fully next year."