GSIS ‘fat cats’ receive P6 million a year each

THE president/general manager of state pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the members of the board were earning at least P6 million each a year including bonuses and perks.

The Senate finance committee chaired by Sen. Franklin Drilon yesterday discovered that the president-GM of GSIS is entitled to a step 1 salary scale of P356,979 a month plus a slew of fat bonuses that are farmed out throughout the year.

Consuelo Manansala, GSIS executive vice president for operations and officer-in-charge, said the salary of former GSIS chief Winston Garcia who was at the helm of the agency for nine years was P600,000 a month.

Manansala told the Senate panel that on top of the P600,000 per month salary, Garcia was entitled to a one-month equivalent of mid-year financial assistance, one-month equivalent of Christmas bonus, cash gift of P500,000 up to 15 months year-end bonus, representation allowance of P250,000 per month, and productivity incentive bonus at the end each year worth at least P2.4 million.

She said the members of the board roughly earn the same amount but generous perks come in the form of per diem honorarium of  P10,000 or more per meeting, which usually happens twice a month or 24 times a year.

A board member has at least three committees to attend to during the whole month such as the oversight, legal and the corporate good governance committees.

A GSIS board member is entitled to a per diem allowance that could reach P40,000 a month, monthly P120,000 representation allowance, P40,000 transportation allowance a month,  2,400 rice allowance per month and a monthly P8,000 clothing allowance.

A member of the GSIS board also enjoys other benefits such as the Provident Fund, Optional Life Insurance Plan, annual medical check-up, hospitalization plan and car loan.

Manansala said these were based on approved schedule of salary scale and benefits as of 2009.

Drilon said he has strong suspicions that the perks and other benefits “go higher and higher every year.”

“P6 million a year is a little bit high,” he said.

Sen. Edgardo Angara said at P6 million a year, the cost of sending one GSIS board member to every meeting would be P550,000.

“That’s unconscionable,” Angara told GSIS officials.

The senators likewise said the indecent amount earned by GSIS president and members of the board violated the memorandum order issued in 2001.

The order mandates all heads of government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs) to limit their pay scale below the combined two-month salary of Cabinet secretaries.

If a Cabinet member receives a salary of P69,000 a month, the pay scale of a top GOCC official must not exceed the amount of P138,000.

They also said a 1977 memorandum order also put a cap on expenses of GOCCs and GFIs, including salaries and perks of top management, to only 12 percent of the annual net income of the state pension fund.

Former Social Security System (SSS) chief Corazon de La Paz said the orders were not implemented during the time of former Finance Secretary Isidro Camacho and then Executive Secretary Alberto Romulo.

She said there were strong objections from “many GOCCs whose heads were already earning more than double the pay of Cabinet secretaries.”

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