SSS pension debacle: President Aquino’s failure of leadership at work again!

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Over the last couple of years, January seems to have emerged as the setting for a tradition in which Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III exhibits his renowned abject lack of leadership qualities.

Last year, in the same month, he oversaw the appalling cold-blooded massacre of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) police officers in the hands of the terrorist Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The massacre was a preventable one — one that could have been avoided if the President had got the right people in the same room talking to one another.

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This year, in the same month, President BS Aquino enraged millions of Filipino retirees and their dependents by summarily vetoing a bill passed in Congress that proposes a significant across-the-board increase in pension benefit payouts to members of the state Social Security System (SSS). The Manila Times editor described it as a “cruel” and “heartless” act citing the whole point of the existence of the SSS as a social safety net, in this case, for retirees who, at this point in their lives, “are having the proceeds of their own contributions to the fund returned to them.”

Much like the SAF massacre last year involved conflicting stakeholders (the Army, the Police, the Bangsamoro “peace” team, Malacanang, etc.) coming together disastrously to form a perfect storm, the SSS and the funds entrusted to it also has many stakeholders — with similarly conflicting interests — surrounding them. The job of the President as supreme leader of the land was to apply executive leadership to facilitating productive collaboration amongst these disparate parties.

Alas, leadership is not one of President BS Aquino’s stronger points — an astounding feature of his character considering he is the leader of a nation of more than 100 million souls!

Aquino’s leadership failed in January 2015 resulting in the preventable massacre of 44 elite police officers by terrorist bandits. It failed again this year after Aquino did not step up to the role he was elected to fill competently. Rather than create a government working together to serve Filipinos, Aquino has created a morass of bickering branches and personalities and, ultimately, the unprecedented catastrophic failure in institutional governance Filipinos are subject to today.

This catastrophe was avoidable as the Inquirer editor points out: “The President lost control of the legislative process. Why this happened should be the focus of inquiry.”

Did no one among the President’s advisers see the pension bill coming out of the legislative mill? Did no one in the President’s inner circle advise him to send an unmistakable veto threat to the sponsors in the Senate? Did no one among the President’s lawyers or advisers counsel him to head off the coming conflict—either through preemptive information campaigns, or consultations with key lawmakers, or candid confrontations with his two principal allies?

It is not that there is a lack of any existing process to facilitate this close working between Malacanang and Congress. The Interaksyon editor cites how under former President Fidel Ramos’s administration, “the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) was institutionalized as a mechanism for Malacanang and Congress, with representatives from the private sector and civil society, to thresh out legislative agendas.” Tragically…

The law creating it thus requires the LEDAC, chaired by the President of the Republic, to meet at least once every quarter.

PNoy convened the LEDAC twice in 2011 – and then never again.

Just not his style.

Indeed, simply put, leadership is not BS Aquino’s style. Who suffers for this lack of style? Who else but the Filipino people.

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9 Comments on “SSS pension debacle: President Aquino’s failure of leadership at work again!”

  1. Is it any wonder that this guy said to SSS pensioner’s:”You will eat shit, like it and not get a frikkin peso in extra benefits….”. The POS obviously needs to bankrupt the treasury before he leaves office ala E-RAP/GMA etc etc etc

  2. I hate to say this, but it really needs to be spoken here in the Philippines. 1.He made the right choice on the SSS system. Congress voted for a pay raise, but not for a successful way to pay for the raise. The USA has this problem right now, because former presidents voted for raises and did not find a good way to pay for the raises. Currently in the USA people are started to get denied and refused SSS. Is that what you want to happen here in the Phils? 2. September 11, 2001 World Trade Center disaster happened to the USA, because three different agencies failed to talk and communicate with each other about possible hijackings. We did not blame our president. We used the tragedy to unite us and to help prevent such a failure from happening again. 3. I have yet to see Filipinos unite on any issue except for a boxing star. Why is there never a discussion about the positive things that have happened in the Philippines? Example does anyone know that on the average nursing graduates from most universities here do better on America;s certification exams than students from America’s own universities? Nope, I did not think anyone would talk about that, because it would say that most universities here are doing a better job with nursing students than most US universities and then someone would have to start taking pride in most universities here, and stop insulting others.

    1. @ actjacs, Nursing students in the Philippines do not even take enough of the relevant classes to prepare them to take the Board of examinations tests in the USA. They may be able to pass the tests in a few states like Pennsyl-tucky where the standards are lower but the schools in the Failippines are about taking the students money and giving them a short shrift in the education in their chosen field of study.

  3. Aquino has no leadership quality. He has no management expertise. A fellow who has not held any real job to earn his living; is acting like a “spoiled brat”, as he is.

    Voters, please take note of the candidates. Any candidate who resembles Aquino, is not to be voted. A liar, a thief and a person who have no accomplishments.

    Aquino has no empathy on suffering people…this is his weakness. He has no empathy on his serfs/tenants in his Hacienda Luisita. It is the same character of Cory Aquino and his father, Benigno Aquino, Jr.

    These people are born rich, and become politicians. They become politicians to protect Feudalism and their Hacienda Luisita. The Oligarchs are their primary backers.

    1. I see the point of Aquino, failing to lead congress in their legislative duty.

      But, we should stop encouraging that is ok to be poor And incentives for the poor remaining poor.

      What I see here is a failure in attitude among people complaining. SSS pensioners are most likely 60+ with children most likely 20-40 years of age. If those 40 year old children are still dependent and Tambays requiring finance from their parents who are retired, who do you think the problem is? This people made the incorrect indecision and want to pass all the blame and burden to everyone else but themselves.

      A lot of us pay contribution, came from proverty, made so much effort to get a job, why can’t this people make the same effort like the rest of us? Some of us even had to work while studying and had no benefit of CCT. Easier to get free money from the government and those who actually work, pay taxes while being Tambays?

      Just like Christmas carolers in the Philippines, who will praise if you give them money but insult you if you don’t, “Ang babarat ninyo Thank you”. Empathy overshadows Japaense work ethic being the norm.

      Success and poverty is a choice not a right. It is the same if you want to become richer than those previous owners of Hacienda Lusita, it is up to individual effort and capability.

  4. ANY SHORTFALLS SA SSS BENEFITS AY DAPAT LEGALLY MANDATORY OBLIGATED ANG GOBIERNO NA PUNUAN ITO YAN ANG PANGAKO NILA SA GOVT SPONSORED PONZI PYRAMID SCHEME NA ITO.

    THIS IS ANOTHER PLOY TO MISLED THE PUBLIC BY ALL YOU NOYTARDS AND AN ANOMALY MADE BY THOSE IN POWER THEY MANIPULATED THE NUMBERS. ITS NOT TRUE THAT THE MEMBERS ONLY CONTRIBUTES 3.25% FROM HIS TAKE HOME PAY , YOU NEGLECTED THE OTHER 7.25% SHARE BY THE EMPLOYER….A TOTAL PRIVATE SECTOR SHARE OF 11% AND IN CASE OF SHORTFALLS THE GOVT. DID NOT SPECIFY HIS SHARE TO PLAY SAFE….BUT PROMISED THAT THEY ARE LEGALLY BOUND TO COVER IN CASE THERE ARE SHORTFALLS IN THE FUTURE…TAKE NOTE GOVT EMPLOYEE SHARE APPEARS BIGGER AT 9% BUT IN REALITY THE GOVT SHARE OF 12% IS ONLY BUFFER CONTRIBUTION ( EQUIVALENT TO THE UNSPECIFIED % IN CASE OF SHORTFALL IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR) THAT ONLY APPEARS ON PAPER A SHARE OF 12% AS IF A TOTAL SHARE OF 21%)

    TECHNICALLY SPEAKING PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS HAS ITS EMPLOYER AS ITS COUNTERPART HOW ABOUT IN THE GOVT SECTOR WORKERS WHO IS THEIR REAL EMPLOYER…ANSWER – PRIVATE SECTOR – SO THE 12% GOVT SHARE COMES FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR… GET IT OR GOT IT….? A SIMPLE CASE OF PRIVATE SECTOR WORKERS “GINIGISA SA KANYANG SARILING MANTIKA”

    THE CONGRESS AND SENATE CAN DO THAT FUTURE SHORTFALL ALLOCATION LATER, FOR THE MEANTIME ADDRESS THE SENIOR CITIZENS DILLEMA FIRST. KUNG BAGA SA EMERGENCY CASES SA HOSPITAL ANO ANG DAPAT UNAHIN YUN KARAMPATANG FIRST AID AT GAMOT O YUN PERA PAMBAYAD??? TALAGANG KAPAG INUNA NG HOSPITAL KUMOLEKTA NG PAMBAYAD TIYAK MAMAMATAY ANG PASYENTE….GANUN DIN ANG KASO NYAN PINAGLALABAN NYONG TUWAD NA DAAN…

  5. what did you expect from this nincompoop, he was probably urged by his crony in SSS to veto it lest their personal funds be affected

  6. Leadership is solving problems. The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.

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