BAGUIO CITY — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) criticized the Government Social Insurance System’s (GSIS) automatic deductions from the salaries of those members with arrears on their benefits upon claiming.
ACT National Chairperson Antonio Tinio said the move is so unilateral, summary and not subject to appeal.
In a forum organized by ACT-Metro Baguio held at the People’s Multi-Purpose Hall in city hall, Tinio lambasted the GSIS for being unfair to its members for implementing such policies without looking first into the welfare of its members.
Under the Claims and Loans Interdependecy Policy (CLIP) which was introduced in mid-2002 by GSIS President and General Manager Winston Garcia, automatic deduction and posting of the deducted amounts as payments of outstanding loan arrearages with the system will be allowed. The CLIP is said to cover loan Accounts such as salary Loan , housing loans, emergency loans, pension loans and policy Loans. It will also include claims and benefits, life insurance benefits, such as maturity, cash surrender value, disability and death, retirement benefits, survivorship and funeral benefits.
Tinio said GSIS should first establish members who really have outstanding arrearages and who are the responsible because it is not automatically the member’s fault.
“Tama lang na singilin ang mga nakautang pero dapat idaan muna sa due process bago gumawa ng hakbang na makakaapekto sa kalakhan ng miyembro,” Tinio added. He also said if they found out that a member is really liable then they should file a case against that particular member.
Tinio, an instructor in the Filipino department in University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City cited Section 41(w) of the GSIS Act of 1997 which stipulates that the GSIS board of trustees must file a legal suit before the proper court or body in order to recover any arrears incurred by its members.
“This process provides members with an opportunity to challenge or disprove the claims of GSIS,” he said.
Tinio said there are cases that the premiums of public teachers are being deducted by the Department of Education (DepEd) from salaries but are not posted in the GSIS books.
Tinio accused GSIS, for being notorious in maintaining an incomplete and erroneous membership database. “While GSIS itself acknowledges that it is currently engaged in a massive ‘reposting’ project to bring these up to date, this does not keep it from using this flawed database to deduct alleged arrears” he explained.
He further explained in most cases these so-called premiums in arrears are false, merely the result of the failure to post premium payments, thus making members to be subjected to double deductions.
The forum is a part of the nationwide coordinated activities of ACT in its campaign against illegal deductions. Forms were given to teachers to help document their experience from the deductions.
Tinio said the nationwide ACT campaign against illegal deductions entitled “GSIS refund now!” will involve the suing GSIS officials responsible for the policy and filing a motion to nullify the automatic deduction policy and a demand for a refund of all allegedly illegal deductions GSIS made. # Aldwin G. Quitasol