Gabriela Women's Party heightens the campaign against use of SSS funds,

holds nationally coordinated petition signing

 

 

February 13, 2009

 

 

Gabriela with KMU, Anakpawis and Migrante picket SSS offfice in Bacolod City
   
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Photos courtesy of GARBRIELA - Negros
           
           

 

News Release
13 February 2009

SOUTHERN TAGAOG WOMEN WORKERS STORM SSS OFFICE IN CALAMBA,
STEALING WORKERS FUNDS AMID RETRENCHMENTS A DEATH BLOW TO WORKERS - GABRIELA

Members of Gabriela Women's Party Southern Tagalog and the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan (PAMANTIK-KMU) held protest today at the Social Security Office in Bgy. Parian, Calamba City, Laguna. They demanded the immediate retraction of SSS' P12.5B commitment to President Arroyo's "economic stimulus pacage" and called for the resignation of SSS head Romulo Neri.

"Ang pera ng SSS ay pera ng manggagawa. Walang karapatan si Gng. Arroyo at mga kasapakat nito tulad ni Romulo Neri na paki-alaman, waladasin at kurakutin ang pondo ng manggagawa. SSS funds are for the workers and not for this corrupt government to meddle with. Hands off SSS funds now!" said Leona Entena, Gabriela Women's Party Vice Chairperson for Luzon.

"Meddling with the workers' funds in the SSS is a most inappropriate action for this government to take in the midst of a worsening global financial crisis. Manggagawa na nga ang tinatanggal sa trabaho, tinatanggalan ng benepisyo tapos ngayon, manggagawa pa rin ang pupuntiryahin ng gubyernong Arroyo para lalo pa papasanin ng krisis! Pinapatay nila ang mga manggagawa," said Entena who liened the scheme to a death blow to workers.

Entena said that in the Southern Tagalog provinces of Cavite and Laguna alone some 34,000 workers have been laid off and retrenched in semi-conductors and electronics factories while over 40,000 workers are made to suffer various schemes of labor flexibilization such as reduced work days, forced leaves and voluntary resignation which are al tantamount to joblessness and the loss of livelihood for many workers.

Entena further said that 75-80% of these retrenched workers in Cavite and Laguna are women as most electronics, semi conductors ad garments factories employ mostly women.

"Excess or reserve funds of the SSS are best allocated for workers who are in dire need of assistance and benefits to tide them over the global financial crisis"

GABRIELA Women's Party Southern Tagalog and PAMANTIK-KMU gathered signatures in a petition to protect workers' funds and vow to gather more in protest.

FOR REFERENCE:
Leona Entena (GWP Vice Chairperson for Luzon) 09106660574
 

     
           

 

NEWS RELEASE
13 February 2009

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Gabriela Women's Party Secretary General
(0917-5003879)
Francis Uyanguren (Public Information Officer) 0929-4511305

GABRIELA WOMEN'S PARTY HEIGHTENS THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST USE OF SSS FUNDS,
HOLDS NATIONALLY COORDINATED PETITION SIGNING

It's the lonely hearts day, a day before Valentine's Day, for Gabriela
Women's Party and Profund when they conducted the nationally
coordinated petition signing and pickets at offices of the Social
Security System in major cities and provinces today to heighten the
campaign to stop the use of the P12.5B SSS funds for the P330B
economic stimulus package.

Gabriela Women's Party Secretary General Cristina Palabay said the
black hearts that they carried as placards symbolized how the SSS
members will be affected with the possible use of their funds. The
woman leader said the centers for petition signing were set up and
pickets were held at the SSS National Office in Quezon City, where
Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza joined members of GWP and Pro-fund, and in SSS
offices in Pasig City, Davao City, Laguna, Iloilo City, Bacolod City,
and General Santos City.

"We are urging the Social Security Commission members to decide
against the use of what can be considered as private funds of SSS
members for public use. Amidst the massive lay-offs and depressed
wages of workers with the effects of the global financial crisis, it
is highly questionable for SSS Chief Romulo Neri and Malacanang to
gamble with the funds of SSS members, most of them workers from the
private sector," Palabay said.

Palabay said Mr. Neri has not presented a substantial study whether
investments in infrastructure, where the SSS funds were to be
utilized, has met the requirements of safety, good yield, at
liquidity.

"With Malacanang's wishlist of big-ticket projects vulnerable to
corruption for these investments, there is great doubt if this would
redound to return of investments for the SSS members," Palabay added.

Palabay said Gabriela Women's Party chapters have already started the
petition campaign in factories, particularly those in export
processing zones, communities and other workplaces. Together with
Pro-fund, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Courage, Migrante, and Anakpawis, an
online petition campaign (www.onlinepetition.com/profund). Gabriela
Rep. Maza also initiated an online internet campaign through her
Facebook account.

 

Download House Resolution 956 investigating the use of SSS funds

for the economic stimulus package

     
           

 

Subject: SIGN UP! www.petitiononline.com/profund to stop the use of SSS funds for public use

Dear friends,

Please see recent press releases of Gabriela Women's Party Rep. Liza Maza and Kilusang Mayo Uno on the reported use of the P12.5 billion of funds of the Social Security System (SSS) for the economic stimulus fund of Malacanang. We enjoin you to protect our funds, the funds of private and public workers who are members of SSS and GSIS, from the dirty hands of Malacanang. Please sign up at
 

www.petitiononline.com/profund

 

to stop the use of SSS funds for public use.

 

Also attached is House Resolution filed today January 26, 2009, for the House of Representatives to investigate on the said move and look into the possible review of the SSS charter to safeguard the funds of its members. We likewise enjoin you to pass this email
around, especially among SSS and GSIS members. Thank you very much.


Gabriela Women's Party
--------------------------------------------------------

NEWS RELEASE
26 January 2009

For Reference: REP. LIZA LARGOZA MAZA 0920-9134540
Francis Uyanguren (Public Information Officer) 0929-4511305

GABRIELA SOLONS PUSH FOR PROBE INTO THE SSS FUNDS IN ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE, REVIEW OF SSS CHARTER

With members of the Social Security System (SSS) and Government Social Insurance System(GSIS), Assistant Minority Leader and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza together with Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan and Anakpawis Rep.Rafael Mariano today filed a resolution for the House of Representatives to investigate the implications to the benefits of private sector workers of SSS President Romulo Neri's move to commit the P12.5 B of SSS funds to the Arroyo administration's "economic stimulus fund" and to recommend measures including the review and possible amendments to the SSS charter.

"SSS members have the right as fund owners to determine and decide on where their contributions should be invested or channeled into. Aside from the investigation on Neri's pronouncement, there is a need to review the SSS charter to safeguard these social security funds for the benefit of its members," Maza said.

"Malacanang's concept of an 'economic stimulus fund' hardly addresses the increasing numbers of laid off workers. These funds should be used to directly assist the members who have been retrenched and those who are threatened to lose their jobs amid the financial crisis instead of their untimely infrastructure projects," Maza said.

"SSS President Romulo Neri is accountable to about 27 million SSS members on how he is going to use their hard-earned money. We expect him to appear before the committee hearing this week and explain his move in committing P12.5 B SSS funds without due consultation to members."

Gabriela Women's Party Rep. Liza Maza has also set up an internet campaign, "PROTECT OUR FUNDS" through her Facebook account. An online petition,

 

www.petitiononline.com/profund/,

 

has also been launched by SSS and GSIS members to stop the use of their funds for public use.

 

 

NEWS RELEASE
24 January 2009
For Reference: REP. LIZA LARGOZA MAZA 0920-9134540
Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-4049119

DO NOT MEDDLE WITH WORKERS' FUNDS; USE SSS, GSIS RESERVE FUNDS TO HELP
WORKERS BRACE FOR JOB LOSSES -MAZA

"Workers' funds and are not for the government to use, meddle with or subject to undue financial risks by investing them in vague concepts such as an economic stimulus fund that has no assurance of pumping up the economy for the benefit of our poor workers."

Thus said Gabriela Women's Party Representative Liza Maza today as she joined PROFUND (Protect Our Fund) Convenors in demanding that economic stimulus package funds sourced from government financial institutions (GFI) such as the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration fund be used to instead to directly assist members and pensioners threatened by job losses.

"If GFIs like the SSS, OWWA and the GSIS do have these extra reserve funds, then these should instead be used to provide for emergency loans and assistance to workers threatened by job losses amid the global financial crisis," said Maza.

"This is a most appropriate response in the midst of job losses worldwide. The proposed economic stimulus package does not clearly indicate how it will address the plight of workers who have been laid off since late last year as well as the hundreds who could lose their jobs every day.

According to Maza, Labor Secretary Marianito Roque had admitted that the rate of lay offs and job losses is "not normal". From Dec. 1, 2008 and Jan. 19, 2009, some 15,600 workers were laid off while 19,000 others had their shifts or working hours reduced. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration said more than 3,000 Filipinos working in Taiwanese factories were laid off during the month of December. Labor officials in Taiwan said the number could rise to
6,000 by June.

The Gabriela solon suggested for reserve funds to be spent instead for additional benefits for members and pensioners, instead of infrastructure projects with no clear promise of lucrative returns. "This has been the experience of GSIS with its purchase of paintings and its global investment fund, the OWWA with its investments in the Smokey Mountain and Expo Filipino projects. In the end, it is the members and pensioners who lose their hard earned money and suffer the consequences."

Maza recounted that SSS President Romulo Neri had already committed 12.5B of SSS reserve funds into the economic stimulus plan. Neri had been summoned to the House of Representatives to clarify its contributions to the economic stimulus plan. #
 

Gabriela Women's Party National Headquarters
118 Scout Rallos, Brgy. Sacred Heart,
Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9295342
Email: gabrielawomensparty@gmail.com
Website: www.gabrielawomensparty.net

Office of Gabriela Rep. Liza Largoza Maza
Rm 309 South Wing Bldg.,
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9316268
Email: lizalmaza@yahoo.com

Office of Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan
Rm. 601 South Wing Bldg.
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9315586
E-mail: repluzilagan@gmail.com

           
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NEWS RELEASE
4 February 2009

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Gabriela Women's Party Secretary General
(0917-5003879)

WOMEN, WORKERS PROTEST AS CONGRESS PROBES NERI: HANDS OFF WORKERS' FUNDS!

"Amidst the massive lay-offs and depressed wages of workers with the
effects of the global financial crisis, it is highly immoral for
Social Security System Chief Romulo Neri and Malacanang to gamble with
the funds of SSS members, most of them workers from the private
sector. Neri should take his dirty hands off SSS funds, given his
notoriety in engaging in anomalous deals and transactions such as the
ZTE-NBN deal."

Thus said Gabriela Women's Party Secretary General Cristina Palabay as
members of the partylist group joined Profund, Kilusang Mayo Uno and
Courage in pickets today at the SSS office in Quezon City and at the
gates of the House of Representatives, in time for the committee
hearing on the effects of the global financial crisis where Neri was
invited to attend.

"We question whether Mr. Neri exercised due care, diligence and
prudence when he committed the P12.5B SSS funds into the economic
stimulus package. Has he presented a study whether this investment has
met the requirements of safety, good yield, at liquidity, as required
by the SSS charter? Has he consulted the SSS members regarding this?,"
Palabay said.

Palabay said members of Gabriela Women's Party nationwide, Pro-fund,
KMU and Courage will launch a petition campaign in factories,
particularly those in export processing zones, communities and other
workplaces against the move to use SSS funds for that purpose.

"The funds should instead be given to the SSS members for additional
benefits, especially in this time of job lay-offs and labor
flexibilization," she concluded. #-
 

           
     

 

NEWS RELEASE
11 February 2009

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Gabriela Women's Party Secretary General
(0917-5003879)

GABRIELA WOMEN'S PARTY STORMED NERI'S HOUSE, CALLED FOR NERI'S
RESIGNATION AS SSS CHIEF

"Amidst the massive lay-offs and depressed wages of workers with the
effects of the global financial crisis, it is highly immoral and
irresponsible for Social Security System Chief Romulo Neri and
Malacanang to gamble with the funds of SSS members, most of them
workers from the private sector.

Mr. Neri should resign from his post as SSS president, having no moral
authority to handle the funds of SSS members, given his notoriety in
engaging in anomalous deals and transactions such as the ZTE-NBN
deal."

Thus said Gabriela Women's Party Secretary General Cristina Palabay as
members of the partylist group stormed Neri's residence in Quezon City
today. GWP members also threw rotten tomatoes at pictures of Neri and
Pres. Arroyo.

"President Neri should take his dirty hands off the funds of workers
at the SSS. Committing the P12.5B SSS funds for precarious
infrastructure investments, without due consultation among members of
SSS and without a board resolution, is an irresponsible act of a
public official," Palabay said.

Palabay said chapters of Gabriela Women's Party nationwide will hold a
nationally coordinated petition signing and pickets at various SSS
offices in major cities and provinces on February 13 against the move
to use SSS funds.

"The funds should instead be given to the SSS members for additional
benefits, especially in this time of job
lay-offs and labor flexibilization," she concluded.

     

 

NEWS RELEASE
27 January 2009
For Reference: REP. LIZA LARGOZA MAZA 0920-9134540
Francis Uyanguren (Public Information Officer) 0929-4511305

NERI HAS NO MORAL AUTHORITY TO GAMBLE WITH SSS FUNDS; LET SSS MEMBERS DECIDE -MAZA

"Social Security System Chief Romulo Neri is gambling away the hard-earned money of the SSS members by committing to invest P12.5B of its reserve funds. Clearly, the SSS Charter states that the SSS reserve funds should be invested with more care, prudence and diligence in line with the principles of safety, good yield and liquidity. Thus, it is all the more crucial that they adhere to these strict criteria before SSS funds are committed, given the intensity of the impact of the financial crisis."

Thus said Assistant Minority Leader and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza in response to Neri's statement that the infusion of SSS funds into the economic stimulus package would be a good investment.

"If indeed Neri thinks the P12.5 billion SSS funds is good investment, he should subject his decision
to a vote of confidence among SSS members. The fund is from the private workers' pockets and they have all the right to decide on what should be done with their funds."

Maza said that Neri himself has no credibility in assuring the SSS members that the said investment would redound to more benefits for them.

"With Neri's role in the anomalies behind the ZTE-NBN deal, his moral authority to give such commitments and pronouncements is very questionable," the solon added.###

 
 

 

NEWS RELEASE
20 January 2009
For Reference: REP. LIZA LARGOZA MAZA 0920-9134540
Francis Uyanguren (Public Information Officer) 0920-3155747

NERI SUMMONED TO FACE HOUSE PROBE
NERI SHOULD EXPLAIN THE P12B SSS SHARE TO STIMULUS FUND - MAZA

At the hearing on the impact of the global financial crisis at the House Committees on Economic Affairs and Banks today, Gabriela Women's Party Representative Liza Maza said Social Security System chief Romulo Neri should explain the use of the P12.5B funds of the SSS for the economic stimulus package prescribed to cushion the impact of the crisis, as this "may be tantamount to cheating off funds from the workers and SSS beneficiaries."

"It is highly questionable that the SSS share in the economic stimulus package will ever directly benefit the 24 million SSS members. It is explicit in the SSS charter that their funds should be used to finance the retirement and pension benefits of the members. Such should not be
used nor diverted for government use to mitigate the impact of the economic crisis, nor should it imperil the hard-earned money of the workers," Maza said.

"If indeed there are excess funds in SSS, as what their officials claim, these should be used to directly benefit the members in the form of additional pension and other benefits," she added.

Maza also warned the government against using such funds for the 2010 election campaign, recalling anomalous use of government and workers' funds in the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and PhilHealth for Pres. Arroyo's campaign in 2004.

"If Malacanang will handle this so called economic stimulus fund, it is all the more suspicious that this will instead serve as a 'stimulus' to the administration allies' political and election agenda rather than address the real impact of the global economic crisis especially on the poor."

Maza said she will file a resolution this week to investigate the reported allocation of SSS funds for the P300 billion economic stimulus package. ###
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