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Pensioners’ X’mas merry; SMC power company sad

December 1, 2022 Mario Fetalino Jr. 326 views

Mario FetalinoChristmas for government pensioners should be merry as they are set to receive money gifts from the state.

State pension fund Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is releasing a total amount of P3.35 billion in Christmas cash gift to more than 328,000 old-age and disability pensioners starting December 6.

“Alam namin ang Christmas cash gift ay hinihintay talaga ng aming GSIS pensioners at ito ang makapagpapasaya sa kanila ngayong Pasko. Kaya simula December 6, na-credit na sa ecard nila ang kanilang cash gift at pwede na nilang i-withdraw,” President and General Manager Wick Veloso said.

Veloso informed that GSIS pensioners will receive an amount equivalent to their one-month pension up to a maximum of P10,000.

Qualified to receive the Christmas cash gift are old-age and disability pensioners under Republic Act No. 8291 (GSIS Act of 1997); Presidential Decree No. 1146 (Revised GSIS Act of 1977); and Republic Act 660 (“Magic 87”) who are receiving their regular monthly pensions and are living as of November 30, 2022.

In particular, pensioners who availed of the five-year lump sum benefit and who resumed their regular monthly pensions after December 31, 2021 (following the five-year period), and members who separated from the service from 2006 to 2022 before reaching the age of 60 who started receiving their regular monthly pension from 2018 onward, and who have been regular pensioners for at least five years.

Old-age and disability pensioners who are on suspended status as of December 31, 2022 due to non-compliance with the Annual Pensioners Information Revalidation (APIR) will also receive their cash gift after they have reactivated their status.

Meanwhile, the following are ineligible to receive the cash gift: pensioners who availed of the five-year lump sum but will receive their regular monthly pension after December 31, 2022; survivorship and dependent pensioners; pensioners who retired under Republic Act 7699 (Portability Law); and those receiving pro-rata pension.

New retirees from 2018 to 2022 who availed of the 18-month cash payment of their basic monthly pension and immediate pension under RA 8291 will only receive their cash gift five years after their retirement.

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Everyone — including Filipino enterprises — is entitled to a fair hearing by an independent, impartial tribunal.

Thus said a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation over the decision of the Energy Regulatory Commission to disapprove calls for a temporary power rate increase.

San Miguel Global Power said they believe the ERC decision, which forces the company to continue absorbing billions in losses in the face of a continuing war in Ukraine and escalating global fuel prices, is against its mandate.

The ERC, as an independent electric power industry regulator is tasked to equitably promote and protect the interests of both consumers and its stakeholders, to help improve quality of life and deliver sustained economic growth, it said.

SMGP said going to the Court of Appeals is part of their right to due process among the legal remedies provided to them by the Constitution.

They also recognize and respect the independence of the judiciary as part of their system of check and balance.

In their joint petition before the ERC, Meralco already provided the Commission with in-depth computations and projections showing that granting the temporary rate hike would have been the least costly option for power consumers.

It would also be beneficial in the long term, as it would preserve the fixed-rate PSAs, SMGP said.

“The projections were reviewed and validated by no less than the ERC’s own Regulatory Operations Service. And yet, the ERC Chair and two Commissioners denied the petition, forcing us to continue to absorb losses, and essentially preventing us from exercising our legal options, clearly laid out in the PSAs, to preserve our financial standing. This, despite, two other commissioners delivering strong dissenting opinions,” it said.

The power firm said it’s the ERC’s responsibility to ensure the least cost of power for consumers. It should have taken this into consideration when reviewing the merits of, and deciding on the petition, the company said.

“Again, it is mandated to uphold the rights of all stakeholders in the power sector. This includes all, and not just a few, power generation companies,” it added.

‘ERC was made aware of the looming power rate hikes. It was also made aware of how it can ensure that the public gets the lowest possible rate while energy players continue to supply power viably amid rising geopolitical risks beyond anybody’s control. Yet, it still chose to look the other way,” SMGP said.

It said that by exercising its constitutional right under the law, it can continue discussions on how to deliver the least cost to the consumers in an objective and impartial manner.

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