While these corporations make money for the government, these are also service corporations that serve not the interests of their directors, many of them having delusions of ownership and rule them as if these are a family enterprise, and the people they represent–the Filipinos. Sadly, many of these public corporations have a very low threshold of service efficiency, if at all it’s valued. But the GCG shares the blame for its equally poor appreciation of efficiency, which should balance profit. Ultimately, these corporations serve the public, and there’s no better way in serving us than with efficiency.
A recently retired professor at the state university had to go through hell just to collect her retirement check, all in about eight agonizing months of waiting, of being told to go to this or that person in that holy nest called GSIS in Pasay. The only thing fortunate about the whole story about this professor is the fact that she does not rely on her salary or her retirement benefits to survive; she is well provided for by her husband, a retired officer in the uniformed service. But that’s the professor. But the story of the thousands of government retirees are far, far sadder, including that of my late mother.
I remember when my late father was about to collect the last check payment for my late mother’s death benefits from the GSIS, we also had to go through the familiar hellish route: we had to pay someone inside the GSIS to hasten release so we could go back home to Bukidnon. Bribery was effective at that time (although I believe it is still up to now). It was the easiest way to hold hostage claimants especially those coming from afar. My father who didn’t like confrontation and complicate things gave in, because more waiting means more expenses. On the day the check was released at the GSIS’s former headquarters in Arroceros, a well-coiffed lady in regal dress came out of the cashier’s room with a male underling. She instructed the latter to accompany us to PNB Escolta where we would encash the check. Soon as the check was encashed, my father gave P5,000 to the underling for his boss (and presumably some amount for him, too) right before my eyes! I didn’t understand it until a few years later. That was in 1988! And the underling had the gall to ask us to buy him and his boss sandwich at a burger joint across the street!
Yes, I only told this story now. This is how corrupt the agency or some if not many of its agents were, and probably are. This is how inefficient the GSIS has become over years of bloating its bureaucracy, over years of fattening the wallets of the wheeling dealing, delusional privileged few who ran the fund as if it’s a family fortune, over years of making money for the people who probably will never have the chance to even see its color.
The legendary bureaucratic inefficiency at the GSIS offers a valuable lesson to all soon-to-retire public servants: they need to prove that they indeed served the government for 30 years, or even more. Read: keep all records of your premiums in handy. It also reaffirms the virtue of patience, assuming you won’t lose it after months, in some cases years, of waiting for your retirement fees. But behind all these stories of corruption and inefficiency, there’s one thing that the GSIS truly excels in and that is beyond compare. And that’s in the deduction of premiums of its members. It’s world class! Very fast, instantaneous, at the speed of light!
But as I have belabored already, the speed drastically drops the moment you collect what is rightfully yours which you have entrusted them and fatten many a directors’ wallets for years.
The GSIS may not be abolished, and those corrupt officers may be there until the second coming, heaven forbid, but the public it serves may have already lost its patience. We’re seeing signs of a people’s patience being lost in neighboring Thailand, of confidence seriously in question.
But in the home front, we ask what happened to the anti-pork rage, to the patience lost, to the promises unfulfilled and to the services undelivered.
And if you say you don’t know, then you know the answer.
You are the answer, you forgetful people! It’s cliche, but it’s true, we get the government we deserve!