DAVAO CITY — Pensioners of the Social Security System and workers held a protest in front of the agency’s main building along East Avenue, Quezon City on Tuesday, February 23 to press for the P2,000 hike in pensions and to condemn the huge salaries pocketed by the agency’s top executives.
Protesters threw paint at an image of commissioner Eliza Antonino, whose appointment to the SSS became controversial after it was discovered that she is getting more than P6 million in salaries yearly. Antonino worked as a former chief-of-staff of Liberal Party bet Manuel Roxas II.
Joining Antonino in the image are SSS commissioners Daniel Edralin of workers’ group Sentro, Ibarra Malonzo of the workers’ group National Federation of Labor or NFL, and Rosalinda Baldoz, secretary of Labor, as well as SSS CEO and president Emilio de Quiros.
“The salaries and bonuses of Antonino and other SSS executives could only add fuel to our clamor for a P2,000 pension hike. It is most revolting to hear about millions of pesos being pocketed as salaries and bonuses while most SSS pensioners languish in poverty,” said Jerome Adonis, secretary-general of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, one of the protest’s organizers.
Adonis said that Antonino and all executives of the SSS who got millions of pesos in salaries and bonuses should be sacked and the salaries and bonuses that they received should be returned to the SSS.
KMU cited data from the SSS that show that the agency’s collection rate is only at around 40 percent and that the agency filed only more than 1,000 cases against more than 100,000 employers who failed to remit their members’ contributions.
Adonis said the appointment of Antonino and other officials to the SSS leadership is “an act of political patronage.”
“We have every reason to believe that SSS executives are channeling workers’ funds to the campaign of Roxas and other Liberal Party candidates,” he added.
Meanwhile, Roxas has earlier defended and Antonino and denied that she is receiving the said amount of money.
On his Twitter account, Roxas said: “Regarding the photo being circulated online, it is not true that she receives that amount. Executive Order No. 24 prescribes rules to govern compensation of Board of Directors/Trustees in government-owned and/or -controlled corporations and government financial institutions. It is clear that the maximum a member can receive (for Class A GOCCs) is P960,000 per year. Anything above that is remitted to the GOCC.” (davaotoday.com)