The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) announced yesterday that it paid 12 percent more in claims and benefits to its pensioners in the 10-month period from January to October 2008, and added that it will provide higher monthly pensions to its member retirees this year.
GSIS president and general manager Winston Garcia said the government pension fund paid out P28.6 billion in claims and benefits to pensioners from January to October 2008, 12 percent higher than the P25.5 billion released for the same period the previous year.
Garcia said the percentage of increase in the payment of pension claims and benefits would go even higher when the data from November to December of 2008 are included in the final report.
The pension fund recently announced an increase in monthly pensions starting this year. Since 2000, the GSIS has increased its monthly pension benefits by as much as 84 percent, a feat unmatched in the country, Garcia declared.
The bulk of the total claims and benefits disbursed during the 10-month January-October 1988 period consisted of P25.6 billion in retirement benefits, 15.8 percent higher than the P22.1 billion given out in the same period the previous year.
On top of this, the pension fund also approved the release of P1.18 billion as Christmas cash gifts to pensioners for 2008. The amount is an improvement from 2007’s budget of P923 million.
The state-pension fund expects more years of record-breaking disbursements of claims and benefits in 2009 and beyond, as it continues to improve its financial standing, Garcia declared.
“We are happy to give more to our pensioners. This we are able to do by tightening our corporate belts, implementing more efficient policies and making prudent investment decisions,” he added.
“The GSIS looks forward to a stronger year ahead, banking on the numerous milestones it achieved in 2008.”
Garcia forecasts the net income of the pension fund, the top-earning government enterprise in the country, to increase by 25 percent in 2008 to P50 billion from P41.2 billion in 2007.
“It has been a very difficult year not only for us with the economic meltdown, but the GSIS clear all these hurdles and now the future looks bright for us,” said Garcia.
The pension fund cushioned the effects of last year’s global economic meltdown by taking advantage of great opportunities in 2008, including the sale of its 27 percent stake in the Manila Electric Co. to food and beverage conglomerate San Miguel Corp.
The GSIS stands to earn around P13 billion from the sale of the Meralco shares. The shares were sold at a remarkable 102 percent premium over its market price at the time of the sale.
“The sale of our Meralco shares was one of our achievements during the year. We refuse to pass up on great opportunities like this. We sold the shares at a very high premium and in the end, it would be our members and pensioners who will benefit from these kinds of investment decisions,” Garcia explained.
“The GSIS exists for its members and pensioners. We strive hard to improve our operations, think of better policies, and remain financially sound so we could give back what is due them,” he said. –Daily Tribune