DAVAO CITY, Philippines- On Tuesday morning, November 7, around seventy retired employees of the government owned Philippine National Bank braved the heat as they trooped in front of their former office, clad in black shirts as they held tarpaulin banners as part of a nationwide protest demanding the bank to comply with the Supreme Court decision to release their retirement compensation and benefits.
Similar protest actions were held in different cities across the country, including Manila and reportedly in General Santos, Tandag, Surigao, Cebu and Bacolod. In Manila, retirees including representatives from different branches in Luzon staged a rally in front of the Philippine Senate building to express their demands.
In their manifesto, the retirees pointed out that workers who have rendered at least 15 years of government service should get a lifetime pension released monthly. They opposed the scheme of a one-time gratuity pay given to them for 20 years of government serice.
The PNB retired employees pushed this on the basis of the recent Supreme Court decision that favored the petition filed by one of their colleague, Goldelio G.Rivera. The decision, G.R. 227573, ordered PNB to pay its officers and employees the cost of Living Allowance (COLA) and Especial Amelioration Allowance (SAA) equivalent to 40% and 10% respectively of the basic salaries from July 1,1989 to May 26, 1996
The case was filed way back in 2006, was raised to the Court of Appeals and then to the SC.
The retirees’ lawyer, Attorney Tom Sentillos, added that the PNB should stop the delaying tactics. He pointed out that the bank’s decision not to release the COLA was based on an irregular process.
“When the standardization law started, the PNB stopped (the release) of the COLA based on a memorandum circular of the Department of Budget and Management which was not published in the Official Gazette,” he said.
The retirees also complained that their GSIS gratuity pay was altered because the bank has been privatized since 1989.
“The problem with privatization, we were considered as resigned from government service. With more than twenty years of government service, we were forced to received a one lump sup gratuity pay without pension by the GSIS. Upon resignation, PNB deducted the gratuity pay from our separation pay losing our years of serving the government,” said Nicardo Leopoldo, one of the retirees in the picket.
Retirees also expressed their views on their Facebook accounts, congratulating their colleagues for the coordinated action.
One retiree posted that their demand is just, as they are “employees, officers, rank and file who shed blood, sweat & tears just to keep PNB afloat during its darkest moment. The very same employees who for decades has worked very hard in order to put PNB in the pedestal of its success, thereby amassing numerous accolades such as “Bestd Manage Commercial Bank”; “Best Universal Bank” to name a few.”
PNB was established in 1916 and was privatized in 1989, as the business group led by tycoon Lucio Tan acquired 35% of its total outstanding capital stock in 1999.
PNB was the first bank to reach Php 100 billion in assets, their website says. It was also awarded by Asia Corporate Excellence and Sustainability Awards (ACES) as one of Asia’s Most Influential Companies during the recent ACES Awards 2022 Ceremony and Gala Dinner held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.(davaotoday.com)GSIS, PNB, PNB retirees, privatization