On the computation of retirement benefits
Upon inquiry by Rep. Antonio Tinio, GSIS representatives dispelled rumors saying that it has changed the formula for computing retirement benefits. Without amendments to RA 8291, GSIS cannot revise the formula such as by putting a 10-year cap to the benefit instead of giving credit to the entire length of service (in cases where the retiree had been in the service for 15 years and more).
RA 8291 gives retirees two options for retirement. Under the first option, the retiree gets five years worth of the BMP upon retirement. After five years, the retiree will start receiving his/her monthly pension. Under the second option, he or she will receive cash payment equivalent to 18 times the BMP upon retirement plus a monthly pension for life payable immediately after his retirement date.
To know how retirement benefits under RA 8291 are computed, please refer to the GSIS website (http://www.gsis.gov.ph/default.php?id=33).
Highlights of the Final Meeting of the Technical Working Committee for the Revision of the GSIS Act (RA 8291)
Some provisions to be included in the final substitute bill are:
1. penalties for GSIS officials’ mismanagement and inefficiencies (separate from civil and administrative liabilities)
2. increase and periodic review of the constant amounts, such as the minimum Basic Monthly Pension (P1,300, except for those who have rendered at least 20 years of service, which should be P2,400) and P12,000 separation benefits
3. possibility of designating beneficiaries to receive survivorship benefits in the absence of primary and secondary beneficiaries
4. scrapping of the premium-based policy – use of “total length of service” (versus “creditable years of service” or the period during which the member has paid premiums) in determination of eligibility and computation of benefits
5. premiums (both personal and government shares) not paid prior to the passage of these amendments shall be included in the annual budgets and shall be remitted automatically to the GSIS; no denial or diminution of benefits shall be made by GSIS due to “premium in arrears”
6. change in the composition of the Board of Trustees – included is a representative to be chosen from an accredited national organization of teachers
7. scholarship for deserving children of members, to be chosen per criteria to be set by the Board of Trustees
The final substitute bill will be voted upon at the Committee level, and eventually will be discussed by the House of Representatives in plenary.
Rep. Antonio Tinio, the TWG’s presiding officer, also raised the memorandum of agreement executed between GSIS, DepEd, and the Department of Budget and Management on 11 September 2012, in which DepEd obliged itself to collect and remit the P4.5B premium arrears-personal share of DepEd personnel from July 1997 to December 2010. He asked DepEd representatives to secure an explanation from Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro in light of the information from DepEd National Employees Union that DepEd has receipts proving that it remitted said amounts to GSIS. Rep. Tinio emphasized that GSIS, as stewards of members’ funds, must file cases against those accountable and ensure that this case of “monumental neglect of responsibility” never happens again. “It’s in the interest of all members that any deduction from their salaries surely go where it’s supposed to go.”