Press Release
May 29, 2011

GSIS Members' Rights, Spruced Up Board highlight Reforms

The Senate is ready to roll-out a slew of improved services and privileges to members of Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) including a first ever "Members' Rights" and reform provisions cutting down red-tape in collecting claims and having a GSIS board that is more responsive and accountable.

Sen. Ralph G. Recto yesterday said the proposed changes to the GSIS Charter or Republic Act 8291 would enable the state pension fund to respond promptly and effectively to the needs of its 1.68 million members, pensioners and beneficiaries.

Recto said among the landmark reform is the inclusion of the 'Rights of GSIS Members" which mandates the state-run pension agency to be expeditious in processing claims; courteous and responsive; updates regularly members on GSIS benefits and affords aggrieved members the "right to be heard."

The current GSIS Charter does not carry a provision on the "Rights of Members." A separate set of rights is also extended to elderly, disabled and seriously-ill members of the GSIS such as providing them with special access lanes; leniency in the submission of documents; priority in the processing/ releasing of claims-benefits and; preference in the dissemination of important information.

"With these rights, no member of GSIS would sail into their sunset feeling bitter, empty and shortchanged by the same agency that they helped keep afloat through their monthly contributions," Recto said.

Recto said any official or unit of the GSIS flouting the rights of GSIS members faces legal and administrative sanctions.

He said the GSIS Board will have to be revamped to take in two new members to strengthen the ranks of government workers in the board and ensure that their welfare is protected at all times. Based on the proposed measure up for plenary presentation soon, Recto said the GSIS Board of Trustees would have to include the secretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the chairman of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) as additional members.

Currently, the GSIS board is comprised of the GSIS president/general manager, president of the Philippine Public School Teachers Association (PPSTA) or the President of the Philippine Association of School Superintendents, two representing government employees, four from banking, finance and insurance sectors, and one lawyer member of GSIS.

Recto said the presence of the DepEd Secretary and CSC chair in the GSIS Board should ensure prompt delivery of services and benefits to teachers, the largest bloc of members, and provide greater voice to other civil servants through the stewardship of CSC chief.

The proposed measure, according to Recto, also ultimately removes the prescriptive period of four years for all members to file for their benefits or claims.

Currently, GSIS members and their beneficiaries have only four years to file for claims for benefits. Meanwhile, retiring GSIS members are given 60 days to fully satisfy their requirements prior to their last day of service.

Recto said the consolidated version likewise slaps a penalty of two percent interest for every month that GSIS fails to release retirement benefits due to a member.

"The penalty would keep the GSIS on its toes and ever vigilant on the primacy of timely delivery of benefits and claims," Recto said.

The proposed measure also sets a limit of five percent on the GSIS funds that could be invested abroad to shield the pension fund from global financial upheavals and channel the funds to domestic investment.

Recto, chair of the Senate committee on government corporations and enterprises, collaborated with the Senate committee on civil service and government reorganization of Sen. Antanio Trillanes IV; Senate committee on education, arts and culture of Sen. Edgardo Angara; Senate committee of local government of Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Senate committee on finance of Sen. Franklin Drilon in crafting the consolidated version of at least 20 proposed measures seeking to improve the services of GSIS.

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