March 3, 2010
Barely a few months before the current administration’s term ends, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is embarking on another multi-million project this time on another identification card which merely duplicates the function of the pension fund’s e-card and e-card plus. That the P270 million Unified Multi Identification card or UMID came at the heels of the GSIS termination of the Survivorhip pension is another cause for concern for its 1.5 million members.
In a statement today, COURAGE, the national center of government employees said the timing of the multi-million project is suspect. “At this juncture, we are already in the thick of the election campaign, there is no doubt that it could be another money-making venture for the administration’s campaign kitty or just another midnight deal for the Arroyo administration before its term ends. At any rate, the project is downright questionable and should be opposed by the GSIS members”.
Ferdinand Gaite, COURAGE National President stressed the GSIS Management is utterly insensitive to the needs of its members. While the state’s pension fund is said to be removing this March the Survivorship pension for the dependent spouse/family to cut on costs, they are embarking on the UMID project which is said to cost P180 per member or a whopping P270 million. And although the GSIS claimed that the ID is voluntary, a cash loan of P10,000 is guaranteed upon application for the ID to entice the members. This is the same scheme they employed on the million peso Electronic card or e-card which became a dismal failure and had to be substituted with another e-card plus project.
“If the project is above board and is indeed necessary, why the need for an incentive that is in the first place a loan? Like a loan shark, the GSIS is pushing the employees further into destitution. What the members need are additional benefits such as increased pension and dividends from the fund which came from their blood and sweat”.
Gaite warned that the UMID could also paved the way for the government’s national ID system which is said to be for initial implementation for the GSIS, SSS and Philhealth members. “That’s a combined 50 million individuals whose personal and private record shall be centralized to the government who has become notorious for illegal arrests, abductions and even political killings”.
The planned national ID system was based on Executive Order 420 issued earlier in April 2005 which cause-oriented groups have questioned and brought to court because it could be subject to abuse such as invasion to one’s privacy and a ticket for harassment like the cedulas used by the military to be presented to them by the residents in areas considered as hotbeds of insurgency. Non-bearing individuals were suspected as members and supporters of the New Peoples Army and are subjected to questioning and harassments. The Supreme Court has reportedly ruled EO 420 as constitutional but the groups are set to file a reconsideration.
Ferdinand R. Gaite, COURAGE National President