Reducing corruption by addressing the needs of government workers

Uploaded by cibacparty on 06.12.2011

bjbjqPqP \M7[ Reducing corruption: from an angle of addressing the needs of government
workers Mr. Speaker, my dear colleagues, good afternoon. Today, I am going to talk about
reforming and strengthening our government policies and institutions that address the
needs of our government workers. And this representation is doing so as a measure to
reduce corruption. Existing legislation is replete with laws and regulations that address
and punish corruption of government employees and public officials. / Under the Revised
Penal Code, we have provisions punishing direct bribery, indirect bribery and malversation
of public funds or property. We also have the law that was enacted to deter public officials
and employees from committing acts of dishonesty and improve the tone of morality in public
service, Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. / In addition,
we have the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials and Employees. Institution
wise, this Chamber took part in the creation of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan,
bodies to prosecute, hear and try alleged acts of corruption of public officials. Correspondingly,
there are numerous cases and decisions of the Supreme Court which punished those guilty
of corruption with imprisonment, deprivation of office or employment and forfeiture of
all benefits granted under our laws. In the case of Ariel C. Santos vs. People of the
Philippines and the Sandiganbayan (GR No. 161877, March 23, 2006), a Labor Arbiter was
convicted for violations of the provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
It resulted to his imprisonment and perpetual disqualification from public office. // In
the case of Perlita Avancena vs. Judge Ricardo P. Liwanag, a municipal trial court judge
was found guilty of violations of the provisions of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act
for asking money to rule in favor of the complainant in a criminal case he was handling. In the
said administrative case, the Supreme Court decided to impose one of the punishments mandated
by Section 3, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, which relates to serious charges. The judge
was dismissed from service with forfeiture of benefits. Taking into account the Revised
Penal Code, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards
of Public Officials and Employees, the creation of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan
and the numerous cases of conviction decided by the Supreme Court, we can say that we have
an abundance of laws that punish corruption. In short, we are not lacking in direct prohibition
and punishment. In fact, it is well-covered, so to speak. However, what we seem to have
overlooked are the basic needs and security of our government employees. / As the actors
that these laws seek to regulate, their basic needs and security must be addressed. That
despite the existence of numerous laws, regulations and decisions, why is it that red tape is
prevalent in the bureaucracy? Maybe, the needs of the government employees for a decent standard
of living and security have not been addressed. Mr. Speaker, my dear colleagues, this representation
believes that addressing and improving the basic needs and strengthening the institutions
that provide social security to our government employees would reduce corruption. Government
employees must be insured, socially. Social insurance is defined as programs providing
protection against life-course contingencies such as maternity, work-related possibilities
such as unemployment or sickness and old-age benefits insurance. / It includes, but is
not limited to, wage that provides a decent life, sick leave benefits, vacation leave
benefits, maternity and paternity leave benefits, bonuses, educational grants and insurance
benefits, medical insurance, contingency insurance, housing and old-age benefits insurance. / Internationally,
it is enshrined in Articles 22 and 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and
Article 9 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. / Although
these are not legally-binding instruments, they measure the concern and extent in which
countries set-up safety nets for their workers. More often, those in the government sector
opt to involve themselves in corrupt activities and undesirable practices because they tend
to gain more and lose less. In short, corruption is a low-risk, high-reward activity. / Government
employees whose basic needs are not addressed are more likely to succumb to temptations
since what they would gain is far greater than what they would lose. / An ordinary government
employee who receives a meager salary that is not sufficient to sustain him and his family
may have a higher susceptibility to bribes especially in times of family emergency. His
gain from accepting the bribe is much higher, that is, money and solution to the family
problem, than what he would lose in case he is caught, prosecuted and convicted. For him,
he will only lose insufficient social insurance benefits. This mindset must be changed. We
must create a social insurance benefit system to government employees that they would perceive
to be valuable and is in truth and in fact, valuable. And how can we arrive at a valuable
social insurance, coming from the point of view of government employees? First, we can
start by increasing the salaries of government workers. They must earn salaries decent enough
to sustain their families. A wage that will provide a decent and humane standard of living
and improved quality of life. / Increase in salary must cover government employees in
the National government agencies, GOCCs, government financial institutions, SUCs, and LGUs and
all other branches of government. Given the inflation, the soaring prices of basic commodities
and services, the present economic realities, the value of government worker s salaries
has significantly decreased. / In order to have a sufficient budget to fund the increase
in salaries of government employees, there must be an improved collection of taxes. A
significant portion of the additional revenues collected must be allocated and used to increase
salaries of government employees. Of equal importance is a national program that would
allocate a considerable portion of these revenues to the increase in the salary of government
workers. Second, we should also include the social insurance aspect which government employees
rely on in times of sickness, contingency and old age. / It must have integrity and
must deliver timely and efficient services. Social insurance benefits for government employees
are covered by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). GSIS is created by Commonwealth
Act No. 186 that was passed on November 14, 1936, and later amended under Republic Act
No. 8291 dated June 24, 1997. / It is intended to promote the efficiency and welfare of the
government employees. / There is a defined benefit scheme and insures its members against
the occurrence of certain contingencies in exchange for their monthly premium contributions.
/ The principal benefit package of the GSIS consists of compulsory and optional life insurance,
separation, retirement, disability benefits for work-related accidents and death benefits.
/ Active GSIS members are entitled to the following loan privileges: salary, policy,
emergency and housing loans. As of June 2011, the average monthly pension received by an
old-age pensioner is P8,650, the survivors of a decedent is P2,442, and under disability
and survivorship - P1,647. The question that hovers in my mind is that are the benefits
granted under the GSIS enough to guarantee a secured future for government employees
that have given the prime years of their lives to public service? The answer is no. The figures
are not enticing. The amount of pension must be increased. To do that, the fund must grow
instead of being depleted. Taking into account the financial condition of the GSIS and after
a careful study, the amount of pension must be increased. One of the problems that GSIS
is facing is the continued decline of contributions for payment of benefits. In specific terms,
total benefit payments made by GSIS grew by 10% annually from PhP 17 billion in 2000 to
PhP 32.3 billion in 2007. / On the other hand, member contributions rose from PhP 35 billion
in 2000 to only PhP 41 billion in 2007, reflecting a measly 2% yearly increase. Thus, the ratio
of contributions to benefit payments declined continuously from 2.1% in 2000 to 1.3% in
2007. / There is poor compliance because the incentives for evasion are built within the
design of pension benefits and contributions. / For example, the minimum pension provision
and the computation of pensions basing on salaries in the last 5 years of service tend
to result in the evasion of appropriate premiums. / In other words, these two provisions create
incentives for workers and employers to collude by either (i) under-reporting earnings until
the last 5 years of their working life and/ or (ii) artificially boosting pay that is
reported to the pension system in the last 5 years of their working life. This depletes
the Social Insurance Fund. / As a result, there is a possibility that the funds will
not be enough to pay for pensioner s benefits. This is just one of the challenges that GSIS
is facing. To maintain the integrity of the government worker s state insurance fund,
the following must be done: Improve collection from employer contributors and members; Prudence
in investment of the funds; Fast and efficient delivery of services to members so as not
to demoralize government employees who have contributed a substantial part of their hard-earned
salary to the fund. Aside from the social insurance benefits granted under the GSIS,
there is also a need to check and improve the stability, integrity and efficiency in
the delivery of services of other state insurances such as Philhealth and Pag-Ibig fund. The
reforms in the salaries of government workers and the social insurance benefits must be
prioritized by the government. There must be a comprehensive and integrated national
plan for this, looking at it from an angle and with the aim of reducing corruption in
the bureaucracy by addressing the security of our government workers. / In fact, this
should have been included in the Philippine Development Plan. Again, Mr. Speaker, my dear
colleagues, if these reforms are made, government employees will have so much to lose if they
engage in corrupt practices and thereafter prosecuted and convicted. / They will lose
all the benefits that ensure their families economic stability. The net effect is that
we will be strengthening our government institutions by having good people who has pride in what
they do. For the 15th Congress and succeeding Congresses, CIBAC Party List tasks itself
to arrive at this comprehensive plan. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, thank you my dear colleagues.
A pleasant afternoon. PAGE PAGE &`#$ 6b]} kB?B EA5g urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags
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