Senator Roxas: GMA to blame for pre-need woes

Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas last Friday said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is to blame for the impending loss of billions of pesos in investments by Filipino parents in pre-need companies because of her inaction and lack of concern on the pre-need companies' financial abuses these past years.
"Where is Gloria – the economist that she is – in this catastrophe? Where is her leadership? This just shows that Gloria's not really minding the store," he said.

"Ang talo dito ay ang mga kababayan natin (The losers again are our people). Gloria has compromised their children's future," he stressed.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce said he will file a resolution seeking to reopen the investigation into the pre-need mess that started three years ago with the collapse of College Assurance Plan (CAP), Inc., a company formerly co-owned by the family of Arroyo.

He noted that when the industry first showed signs of distress three years ago, the government did not even take any step to strengthen regulation of the pre-need business, at the expense of 800,000 plan holders who lost their hard-earned money.
"Noon pa man ay sinabi na natin na kailangang paghandaan ng pamahalaan ang anumang krisis pinansiyal na maaaring harapin ng pre-need industry. Nakita naman nating lahat kung ano ang nangyari sa CAP (I have already warned the government about preparing safety nets for the pre-need industry. We have seen what happened to CAP)," he said.

"Ang mahalaga ay protektahan ang pinaghirapang pera ng daan libo nating kababayan. Mahalaga ang kinabukasan ng mga batang siguradong mas apektado ng krisis-pinansiyal na ito (It is important that we protect the hard-earned monies of our citizens. It is important that we ensure a good future for our children and make sure they are not affected by this financial slump)," he said.
Industry figures show that as of end-June 2008, the industry's trust fund deficit has ballooned to a whopping P46.83 billion, which is extremely opposed to a surplus of P6.8 billion as of end-December 2007. Pre-need firms have also reportedly written the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in August 2008 and warned that if urgent solutions are not implemented, the industry's financial woes could lead to the demise of the industry and many unfulfilled promises to plan holders.

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Kevin Ray N. Chua

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