Press Release
September 17, 2008


Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas called on the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Social Security System (SSS) to disclose to the public any and all investment exposure in troubled US financial firms.

"GSIS and SSS must disclose any investment exposure in Lehman, Merrill Lynch, AIG and other US Stock Exchange investments. If they were indeed exposed, they must explain the effect of these to their trust funds' health and act immediately to ensure the future of thousands of pensioners," he said in the wake of the collapse of US financial institutions Lehman Brothers and American Insurance Group, and the sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America.

"GSIS and SSS are not mere financial institutions, because they are mandated to protect the people's interests. The value of their trust funds must be preserved. They must stay away from speculative investments," he said.

"Ang pinag-uusapan natin dito, pera ng mga manggagawa na inilagay nila sa GSIS at SSS, sa paniwalang ang pension nila ang magsusustento sa kanila sa pag-retiro nila," he stressed.

He noted that the GSIS and SSS are allowed to invest in foreign securities. Under its charter, GSIS is allowed to invest in "foreign mutual funds and in foreign currency deposits or foreign currency-denominated debts, non-speculative equities or other assets," and is required to submit to Congress an annual report on all its investments. SSS, meanwhile is allowed by its charter to invest not more than 7.5% of its investment reserve fund in foreign mutual funds in existence for at least three years.

Roxas also said the government must provide a clear-cut plan on how it plans to deal with the threats to local jobs and incomes as an effect of the ongoing global financial crisis.

"Ano ang plano ng gobyerno? Hindi tayo pwedeng umasa na lang na aayusin ito ng mga gobyerno ng ibang bansa," he said.

"Ngayon pa lang ay dapat may isang tinig ang ating pamahalaan na maglalatag ng solusyon," he added, noting that Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, the President's economic adviser, had called for more deficit spending, while NEDA Director-General Ralph Recto was more in favor of retaining present deficit targets.

The Ilonggo senator said despite pressures to cut down on borrowings due to sluggish financial markets worldwide, the government must ensure its ability to spend and provide for the poorest of the poor. "Kailangang siguruhin na hindi mawawalan ng pondo para sa mga maaapektuhan ng krisis na ito."

News Latest News Feed