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When GSIS means no service, no system

02:01 AM July 19, 2014

I availed of an early retirement program from Pag-Ibig Fund effective end of March 2013. Due to some administrative boo-boos both at Pag-Ibig and at the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), my application for GSIS benefits were processed only in early October 2013.

By first week of November 2013, GSIS had credited my account with my lump sum benefit and cash surrender value (CSV). However, it deducted P157,241.07 from my CSV purportedly for an unpaid salary loan. While this issue of an alleged unpaid loan was made known in July 2013, GSIS did not do anything to validate if payments for the loan had been made.

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A check with the records of my former office showed that the salary loan was religiously paid from July 1997 to June 1999. But obviously, GSIS didn’t post the payments.

I filed my request for refund last April 4, 2014. In a reply to a follow-up e-mail, GSIS personnel told me that my refund would be processed within 60 working days. As of July 2, 2014, no refund has been made.

FEATURED STORIES

Counter personnel and loan payment processors were quick to blame their former president, Winston Garcia, for GSIS’ problems. Is it the practice now of those in government to blame past officials for their inability to do their jobs?

The facts are:

1) My loan was paid starting July 1997 and was fully paid by June 1999;
2) Winston Garcia was president and general manager from Jan. 25, 2001, up to June 2010;
3) GSIS encountered problems with their computer systems only from mid-2008 to mid-2009;
4) For over 10 years, my loan payments— and possibly those of other members—were “not processed/recorded” by the GSIS personnel tasked to do so.

Also, regardless of computer systems, payments data are first converted into computer readable format, unless already submitted as such. The listing is reconciled for possible underpayment/overpayment and treated as a separate file before being loaded into the computer system in use. Thus, even if the computer system breaks down, you can always go back to the reconciled payment files. Apparently, the responsible GSIS personnel do not do this —proof of which is that each member is required to submit a remittance list containing certified true copies of receipts and supporting documents.

While we’re at it, has any GSIS officer tried calling the GSIS trunkline and specific extensions? Callers have to wait a minimum of five minutes for an operator to answer and another five minutes for an extension phone to be picked up. The call center 8474747 is staffed by individuals who do not fully know what products, services or departments are available to GSIS members and retirees.

Would that GSIS officers and employees honestly strive to provide true service and efficient systems for its members and retirees.

—CARLOS A. LATORRE,
[email protected]

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