ACT TEACHERS Partylist kicks off series of GSIS protests
March 25, 2010
The ACT TEACHERS Partylist led a protest action this morning at the head office of the Government Service Insurance System in Pasay City.
Around 30 placard-bearing teachers and school employees picketed the main gate of the GSIS compound. Several speakers denounced the oppressive policies of the GSIS and its President and General Manager Winston Garcia, describing him as “incompetent” and “insensitive” to the plight of the country’s 1.5 million GSIS members. The protesters lobbed paint bombs at a large portrait of Garcia and President Gloria Arroyo, whom the protesters criticized for her continued support of the unpopular GSIS administrator. The protesters then concluded their protest by burning the images of Garcia and Arroyo.
“Our protest action today is the first in a series of actions that will culminate in a nationally-coordina ted day of protest against the GSIS on April 28,” said ACT TEACHERS Partylist president and first nominee Antonio Tinio. “These protests will express the frustration and anger felt by public school teachers and employees all over the country towards the unjust policies and practices of the GSIS under Winston Garcia. Without a doubt, the GSIS is the single most hated government office among the ranks of teachers and employees.”
Tinio denounced what he described as the “criminally negligent record-keeping” of the GSIS. “At the root of members’ suffering is the GSIS’s failure to maintain accurate and up-to-date records of members’ accounts. As a financial institution, this is the prime responsibility of GSIS. Can you imagine a bank that fails to keep track of the deposits and withdrawals of its clients? This is the state of GSIS record-keeping. As a result, hundreds of thousands of members complain that they are being charged for loans that have already been paid or premiums that have already been deducted.”
Tinio also criticized Garcia’s introduction of the Claims and Loans Interdependency Program (CLIP), a policy of automatic deduction of arrears from members’ benefits and receivables. “This policy robs members of their right to due process. It’s the main instrument used by GSIS to make illegal deductions. It’s often the case that GSIS will deduct huge amounts from the benefits of members even though they owe nothing to the GSIS. In other words, it’s a legalized form of stealing.”
Tinio estimates that the GSIS has made at least Php 2 billion in illegal deductions from the benefits of public school teachers and non-teaching personnel of the Department of Education alone.
Tinio called for the immediate refund of all deductions made by GSIS through CLIP. He also reiterated the call for the ouster of Winston Garcia and challenged the presidential candidates running in the May 10 elections to install a new GSIS management that will institute genuine reforms in the state pension fund.
“Not a single presidential candidate has taken a stand on the GSIS. We challenge them to do so, for the sake of the millions of public school teachers and other government employees and their families.” #
Antonio L. Tinio (0920-9220817)
ACT TEACHERS Partylist National President