Monday, September 24, 2007

Seeing Enough Bread Is Oversight

My friend, Sebio, works in a government energy company for a long time and quite satisfied for having provided the needs of his family and the education of his children. He was able to build a house in a nearby village assuring himself of a modest living. However, the company announced that it is being privatized and to make it attractive to the prospective investors, a retrenchment policy was instituted, hence, the reduction of personnel. Of the many positions and sub-offices to be declared redundant, Sebio's was included and there is no other option but to resign or retire. Worrying Sebio is now thinking as to what will happen to him together with his family in the event that he will be separated from the service and may not find another job. The company, in a gesture of sympathy to the workers who will be dislocated, offered retirement schemes which provide gratuity benefits and/or old-age monthly pension for life wherein a worker may choose whichever system is beneficial to him. One of the scheme provides cash benefit equivalent to 20 months salary for a 20 years of service plus one and a half month salary in excess of 20 years up to 30 years, two months salary in excess of 30 years; and the refund of worker's and employer's contributions with the government insurance system. This scheme requires that in order to qualify for the said benefits, a worker must have rendered at least 20 years of service and the last three years of which must be continuous and regardless of age. The other scheme provides annuity benefits equivalent to 75% of the average monthly salary in the last three years and payable monthly as long as the retiree is alive. This scheme requires that a worker must have rendered 35 years of service at the age of 52 years old or the age of worker and the length of service must be equal to 87 years. The former scheme was chosen by Sebio inasmuch as he is qualified and having been in the service for 28 years and 50 years old if retired on the current year. Sensing of the outright big cash, Sebio was lured to retire. Many of the workers followed and availed the same benefits Sebio had applied. And the company was relieved of the burden of disposing the excess workers and evading the consequences of throwing away the workers.
Upon receiving the proceeds of retirement, Sebio immediately engaged in a rent-a-car business. He bought two second-hand car and two brand new car on installment basis. A feeling of satisfaction and relief from going to office everyday and a new-found environment was experienced by Sebio. He became a member of a prestigious club of travellers; most-sought donor of community activities; and became an instant relative of those who do not know him before. On the two years of operation, he had no problem liquidating his accounts. On the third year, he is in the red due to the lost of new car which should have been fully-paid and generating more income, and compounded by uncollected revenues, unpaid bills and other fortuitous event detrimental to his social standing. On the fourth year, he is bankruft and unable to look for another job, always rejected for a simple reason of over-age. He felt insecured, most of those he relied upon as well as those instant relatives instantly vanished. All his dreams and visions of becoming a big one suddenly disappeared behind the clouds of uncertainties. And the government, which should be his last recourse, is not yet ready to support the senior citizens. Now, Sebio is in the state of vagrancy and while resting on a boulder, he sighed: “Why did I not chose the retirement scheme with guaranteed benefits of old-age pension for life.” Then he laid down and half-asleep and then .... the perennial byword, . . “I told you so!” Rmagin

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