Aquino defends hefty bonuses of SSS officials

Natashya Gutierrez
President Aquino says bonuses of executives from GOCCs are approved after a thorough process

DEFENDER. President Benigno Aquino III defends the release of bonuses to GOCCs. Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines – The President sees nothing wrong with the hefty bonuses received by executives of the Social Security System (SSS).

President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday, October 15 defended the millions of bonuses received by board members of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), saying the granting of bonuses went through a process.

“It goes through a process and for me — I think some sectors would say this is unfair — I think with bonuses, we must first ensure the GOCC has an income. If they receive subsidies, then maybe they shouldn’t receive bonuses,” he told reporters.

The statement comes after the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCC) said it approved incentives for at least 20 GOCCs for 2012, worth P67.7 million.

The SSS however has gotten the most criticism in recent weeks, following an announcement that directors were eligible for over a million pesos in bonuses for 2012, totaling P9.3 million. This, despite plans the SSS would ask for higher contributions from SSS members.

The Palace has maintained the incentives of SSS are justified after the agency was able to save some money.

But another GOCC, PhilHealth, also released P1.488 billion in bonuses to its workers last year, despite not meeting its targets by P3.8 billion.

Aquino explained “certain entities, by their very nature, will never be profitable.”

“What then if their performance is good in terms of decreasing losses? It’s not fair to those who perform well,” he said.

Just a day earlier, Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG) spokesperson Paolo Salvosa explained bonuses are based on performance.

The GCG, an oversight and policymaking body in charge of GOCCs, was created in October 2011 following controversies over hefty bonuses received by GOCC officials in the past administration.

Salvosa detailed the strict process instituted by the Aquino administration before it approved the release of bonuses to GOCC executives, adding that performance-based incentives depend not on daily performance but the performance of the GOCC as a whole.

He said that under the current administration, GOCCs must have targets for customers, financial, internal process and employee productivity, and board members are only appointed for a year. They are reappointed only if their performance ratings are above average.

In the past, board members enjoyed 3-6 year terms regardless of performance.

Salvosa said bonuses are needed to attract the most talented officials and maintain the competitiveness of GOCCs. –

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