Hataman urged to prosecute culprits in non-payment of P1.9B GSIS premiums PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 08 January 2012 17:24

Employees of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao yesterday urged newly-installed officer-in-charge Mujiv Hataman to prosecute the culprits in the non-payment of P1.9 billion worth of premiums to the Government Service Insurance System that were deducted from their salaries over the years.

Two ARMM agencies, the education and natural resources departments, are the most delinquent in remitting premiums of employees, based on a Powerpoint presentation by representatives from GSIS during a dialogue here with Hataman and members of the regional cabinet the other day.

Emotions rose to fever pitch inside the Office of the Regional Governor as the dialogue went on when employees, some of them to retire soon, learned that offices in the ARMM regional government have a P1.9 billion obligation with the GSIS.

“We never thought the ARMM government would have such a huge accumulated debt. What will happen now to those employees who have religiously been paying their GSIS premiums through automatic salary deductions for two decades now? This is despicable,” said a senior staffer of the ORG, dubbed as the “little Malacañang” of the autonomous region.

GSIS officials told Hataman during the dialogue among the offices that has not been remitting premiums is the ARMM’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, now controversial for its failure to effectively protect the region’s tropical rainforests, particularly the watersheds around Lake Lanao in Lanao del Sur whose downstream flow propels several hydro-electric plants that supply three-fourths of Mindanao’s power needs.

Hataman has ordered an investigation on why offices in the autonomous region incurred heavy arrearages with GSIS, despite an undisrupted flow of funds from the central offices of the Department of Budget and Management down to the executive department of the regional government since the ARMM’s creation in 1990.

Hataman said his administration is not pointing an accusing finger to any perceived culprit, but is merely focusing on issues and constraints as basis for introducing needed reforms in the regional bureaucracy.

He said he made the dialogue with officials of the GSIS open to journalists to ensure dissemination of the deeper intricacies of the problems on unpaid insurance obligations of dozens of offices under the regional government.

“This is impunity. This non-remittance of GSIS premiums deducted from the salaries of employees may not be bloody, but it is just like killing the affected employees `massacre style’ just the same,” Hataman said.

Members of the ARMM employees union have endorsed an immediate full-dressed probe by the Commission on Audit and the Department of Justice on the controversy. — Felix Ostrea