SS Charter Amendment to be stringent on board members’ qualifications

The state-run Social Security System (SSS) on Thursday welcomed the recommendations of Sen. Franklin Drilon on the proposed amendment of the 21-year old charter of the pension fund, placing a more stringent measure to strengthen the Social Security Commission (SSC) , the governing body of SSS.

Drilon said during his interpellation of Committee Report 300 – Senate Bill No. 1753 that there should be measures to strengthen the SSC particularly on the qualifications of the commissioners being appointed to the SSC. He noted that the fund being managed by the SSS is people’s money and not government’s fund.

“From my experience, the Social Security Commission was not performing its function that it should really be; as in reviewing the policies of the Social Security System, performing the check-and-balance function because of the inadequacies of the members of the Commission,” Drilon said.

Drilon served as Labor Secretary for three years making him an ex-officio member of the SSC from 1987 to 1990.

“For example, the Social Commission Chair is appointed usually because he or she is known to the appointing authority. I am not talking about a particular… i am not ascribing any inadequacy on any particular member, but just so the System, that in every look does not impose any qualification on the chairmanship of the Commission nonetheless it impose any qualification on the regular members of the Commission,” he added.

Drilon also noted that because of the inadequacies of the appointed commissioners, they were not able to perform the task of debating on policies that the SSS management would like to promulgate.

SB 1753 sponsor Sen. Richard Gordon, current Chairman of the Senate Committee of Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, who championed the needed amendments to the SSS Charter to ensure the long term strength, stability and viability of the pension fund, agreed to the proposed addendum suggested by Drilon.

Likewise, SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel F. Dooc also welcomed the recommendations of Drilon.

“We greatly appreciate the effort of Sen. Drilon who studied our proposed amendments and we are very open to his proposal to be more stringent on the qualifications of the appointed authorities because this will benefit the System. We see no harm on being strict with the qualifications of the commissioners, chairman and even the president and CEO. We agree with Sen. Drilon that this is the people’s hard-earned money, so trustees of the fund should be very knowledgeable, competent and prudent in the management of the pension fund,” Dooc said.

The SSS’ proposed charter amendment was deliberated on the Senate floor last Wednesday after the second regular session resumed on July 23. The hearing of the proposed bill will resume on Monday, July 30.

“We are very hopeful that the proposed amendment to the SS charter will be passed into law this year. We send our gratitude to our legislators in the high chamber, especially to Sen. Gordon for championing the proposed amendments,” Dooc added.

The bill, if enacted into law, will expand, protect and grow the fund for its future and current members.