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PIA Press Release

Use of GSIS funds should be in accordance with the law - GSIS official

Cebu City (February 13) -- As growing concerns over reports that the state pension fund will be used by the government for its stimulus package to revive the economy, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) officials in a press conference in Cebu said that any move to use the funds should be in accordance with the law.

GSIS Senior Vice President for Membership Roberto Agustin bared the GSIS is governed by RA 8291 which explicitly states where the funds should go and that using the funds for whatever purpose from what is stated by the law is a clear violation.

In order to address the global economic crunch which has resulted to retrenchment and massive lay-offs nationwide especially from export-oriented industries badly hit by the worldwide financial crisis, the government is planning to tap the funds of the GSIS, Social Security System and the Home Development Mutual Fund for the economic stimulus package to alleviate the situation.

The plan is met with apprehensions from GSIS members that benefits and other services offered by the state pension fund might be affected in case this pushes through.

Agustin however, said there has been no development on the proposal to use the GSIS funds.

Agustin stressed the GSIS funds is private and belong to its members while the law is very apparent on the purpose of the funds.

"In case there is a plan to involve the funds for the economic stimulus package, then this should be in accordance with the law," Agustin emphasized.

Agustin assured the 1.3M GSIS-members nationwide that the state pension fund has sufficient money to pay for claims and benefits as well as continue its various loans services.

In Cebu, 5,277 claims were released last year amounting to about P486M while from January this year up to present, 335 claims were already paid valued at P94M. Claims refer to retirement benefits, pension, death benefits, injury compensation among others, this is learned.

GSIS President Winston Garcia earlier bared in a news report the state pension fund's total assets grew by 9 percent from P441B in 2007 to P480B in 2008.

Improved member contributions, foreign exchange gains and the sale of the 27 percent of GSIS shares in Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) to San Miguel Corporation have been attributed behind the hike of the GSIS assets. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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