Saturday ∗ 21 Nov 2009

an ongoing saga: or why Edu has some explaining to do

and no, i don’t mean in relation to pinky webb, though that would be interesting ‘no? why oh why would any sane individual choose to run under GMA’s party. and what would be so compelling that he would choose it over love?

but no, this is more about Edu Manzano, he who’s running as Gibo Teodoro‘s Vice President, being the Social Security System‘s endorser. yeah, Captain Barbel sells SSS with his Lucky son — the strangeness of that statement isn’t lost on me.

elsewhere i’ve talked about the worst times i’ve had with SSS, and yet, it could only really get worse ‘no?

and so in the age of Duds selling SSS, i try (in vain, i might add) to get money that’s due me. the difficulty of course lies, not simply in its lack of a system, but in its downright disregard for a woman’s right to her name.

it is my maternity benefit that i dream of receiving from SSS, one which requires that i show my child’s birth certificate, and which apparently gives any SSS employee the power to change my name. yes, ladies and gentlemen, while the law provides that i may keep my maiden name (an amendment to an existing law by Miriam Defensor Santiago — this is the one time i thank the heavens for her), in the SSS offices across this country, you are presumed to want to use your husband’s surname — you won’t be asked if you want it done.

if this seems petty, then try it with some of this: none of my IDs have my married name on ’em. and if this seems irrelevant, then try this on for size: you need two IDs for your request for (your own!) money to be even processed by the fantastic SSS office.

add to this the fact that the SSS people DO NOT tell you that they have changed your name, so you can’t even throw the law at their faces.  and so after waiting two weeks for the SSS computer to accept your change in name, you come with your old IDs and you’re told: “ay ma’am, hindi po kayo ito e, magkaiba ang pangalan.”

and you only say watdapak! because really, this same woman knows you to be the woman with the maiden name, and you have in your hands every document to prove that you are one and the same person as that woman with a spanking new married name. instead of SSS acknowledging its mistake here, they tell you to get IDs that have your married name. otherwise, wala ka nang benefits. benefits na dapat ay sa’yo naman talaga.

and so after about two months, you finally have these IDs (a postal ID which costs way too much in Mandaluyong) and a police clearance from the cityhall. you brace yourself for the well-mannered SSS lady who will make you feel like you don’t deserve your money. instead you face someone who says, “o, bakit kailangan pa ng bagong ID, e ang tagal nang approved nito ha, tingnan mo.” and when you say that you were told by the woman in the next desk to get these IDs, she says, “naku naman, pinahihirapan ka pa.”

you want to scream: “po.tang.inaaaaaaaa!”

but you don’t. instead you wait a month, which is the promise SSS makes: a cheque will be delivered to your house by the end of one month at most.

it has been two months and a half of waiting. for money that’s mine mine mine. for SSS to get its fluggin’ act together, and DELIVER — literally and figuratively. the SSS Mandaluyong branch, being the great office that it is, doesn’t help at all when it says: “na-release na po sa main office, in transit na ‘yon, hindi niyo na mafa-follow-up kase wala na kaming alam don, wala na kayong puwedeng tawagan.”

ah ganon. wala nang follow up. wala na kong powers. e pera ko yon.

enter Duds, he who has the gall to run for VP after selling SSS as the greatest thing an individual could have in this country. come on Captain Barbell, you have gotta save this woman’s day.

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