Quezon City — The Labor Education and Research Network, through the Global Network-Asia, sponsored a two-day seminar for public sector employees to increase their awareness of social protection particularly in the areas of labor rights and social insurance. The Director of the Personnel Relations Office (PRO) of the Civil Service Commission, Menchie Bullas, and one of the trustees of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Mario Aguja participated in the event held last January 27-28, 2011.
In the first day, Director Bullas discussed the recent updates in the rules governing public sector employment as well as the establishment of employees’ unions in the public sector. Her discussion highlighted the new ruling on the required minimum membership in unions which was reduced from 30 percent of the total rank-and-file employees in a particular government office to 10 percent. The said relaxation in the required membership was made to encourage the formation of unions, which also serve as vehicles for reforms in the workplace. Director Bullas also answered questions from the participants during the open forum.
A discussion of the current status of the government-run GSIS was done in the second day, with Trustee Aguja as the resource speaker. The trustee presented the current reforms being undertaken by the GSIS after nine years under the Arroyo administration. The most alarming of the problems, as he presented, was the database failure that caused some payment and transaction records of members to be lost. An open forum was conducted where Trustee Aguja clarified inquiries and issues raised by the participants regarding the delivery of services by the GSIS.
A workshop was conducted before the end of the seminar. The participants were given the chance to do problem sensing and at the same time formulate possible policy solutions to the identified problems. This workshop, as well as preceding discussions, was the result of reforms in the social security agenda initiated by newer members of the bureaucracy from the labor sector like Aguja (SSS) and Daniel Edralin (SSS).