GSIS explains Portability Law
This is in reply to the letter of Mafeo R. Vibal, vice president for external affairs of the Philippine Association of Retired Persons (“Make benefits equal for all retirees,” Opinion, 5/15/17). Vibal asked why pensioners under Republic Act No. 7699 (Portability Law) are not entitled to the Government Service Insurance System’s cash gift, pension increase, and milestone benefit.
First, a backgrounder on RA 7699: Premium contributions made under the GSIS and the Social Security System may be combined to qualify retirees for pension benefit under either system. Hence, retiring government employees who fail to meet the 15-year requirement for eligibility to a GSIS pension, but have prior services (of less than 10 years) in the private sector under the SSS, may request adding up such service credits to those they made under the GSIS. In the interest of equity, however, the amount of benefit to be paid by the GSIS is proportionate only to the services they rendered under the GSIS or the actual premiums they contributed to the pension fund.
It should be stressed that the GSIS has long been implementing a premium-based policy, the essence of any insurance principle, which aims to sustain the actuarial solvency and financial
viability of the pension fund for the benefit of existing and future members, as well as their beneficiaries. Under the present guidelines, therefore, GSIS pensioners under the Portability Law and those receiving regular pro-rata pensions are not entitled to Christmas cash gift, pension increase, and milestone benefit for pensioners who reach the age of 90, 95 and 100.
Vibal also noted the need to “review pensions” as required under RA 9994 (Expanded Senior Citizens Act). We would like to assure him that his observation is consistent with Section 14 of RA 8291 (GSIS Act of 1997), under which the GSIS periodically reviews, adjusts when needed, and implements its benefit program, including pension, to make it responsive and relevant while keeping the fund actuarially sound. Under the stewardship of a new, dynamic, and hardworking board of trustees, the GSIS hopes to initiate reforms or continue implementing existing ones that uphold the interest and the welfare of all our members and pensioners.
NORA MALUBAY-SALUDARES, officer in charge, Office of the President and General Manager, Government Service Insurance System
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