MANILA (Sept. 22) — Sen. Chiz Escudero yesterday called on the Pag-IBIG Fund to junk its plan to hike the membership contribution rate, backing instead the proposal of a labor group for the agency to raise funds by expanding its coverage to include all government and private sector employees.
“If it is true that Pag-ibig now covers only 7.4 million of the potential 29.2 million members, then an increase in the membership rate is ill-advised and untimely,” the 39-year old lawmaker said.
“It also raises questions about the direction of the agency’s advertising campaign which has been funded by millions of pesos taken from contributions of members,” he added
The Pag-ibig Fund announced last Sept. 18 that it was planning to increase its membership contribution rate to further improve the agency’s financial capability and meet the demands of members for more loans and benefits.
In a statement, the TUCP criticized the planned increase as “unnecessary and indefensible.’’ The labor group pointed out that while Pag-IBIG membership is mandatory, only one out of every four workers is actually covered by the fund.
Escudero said Pag-ibig should seriously consider the proposal of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) for the agency to raise revenues instead by expanding membership.
“This will not only increase its available funds but more importantly it will benefit more of our workers and employees,” Escudero said.
At the same time, the 39-year old lawmaker asked for a full report not of how the agency has spent its funds in the past nine years.