MANILA, Philippines - Labor activists launched a protest action Monday in front of the main office of the Social Security System against an alleged plan of Romulo Neri, administrator of the government-run pension system, to reportedly divert P12.5 billion of SSS funds.
The members of partylist group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) said the funds are reportedly intended to be used for the Arroyo administration’s economic stimulus package.
PM activists shouted: "Neri, Gloria: Hands off our funds!"
Dennis Sequena, PM spokesperson, said that SSS funds should be used to provide unemployment subsidy to thousands of workers losing jobs daily, instead of funding government infrastructure projects.
The group said they want SSS to provide P10,000 monthly unemployment subsidy to workers and employees who would lose their jobs. They propose the subsidy to an unemployed person for 6 months.
The group also expressed suspicion that the SSS funds might be just used for the campaign of candidates of the administration party or even for President Arroyo who is running for a congressional seat in Pampanga.
The activist labor group insisted that SSS funds are for its members and not for those in power.
They said they are also supporting Senate Resolution 850 which directs the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises to investigate the re-channeling of P12.5 billion of SSS funds for the government’s "Economic Resiliency Plan."
Neri, meanwhile, declined to speak with media citing an ongoing meeting.
Meanwhile Tomas Peroy, a member of SSS and president of a group Alyansa ng PISTA, complained of the service fee that SSS charge on loans.
Peroy said he took out a P22,000 loan payable for 2 years. Before he even received the loan amount, however, he said deductions amounting to P2,200 for interest and P220 for service fee were taken.
He complained that the check for the amount remaining in the loan was not even delivered to him. He asked what the service fee is supposed to be for.
He also complained that SSS monthly contributions are deducted from his salary yet he does not see a printout if the company he works in are submitting to SSS their supposed contributions.With a report from Maricar Bautista, ABS-CBN News