UP Diliman (UPD) Cluster 1 security guards found themselves financially struggling again following their agency’s announcement of a salary delay on August 25.
Only a few days remain until their next payday on September 10, yet no word from Star Special Corporate Security Agency Management Inc. (SSCMI) has been given. The agency is one of two in UPD—guards from SSCMI work in cluster 1, which covers the inner core of the campus.
SSCMI must pay salaries twice a month, incurring penalties for every day of delay, according to its terms of reference (TOR) with UPD, said Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Guardia ng UPD (SNG-UPD) Public Relations Officer Jhony Azusana in an interview with Collegian. The guards’ salaries are expected every 10th and 25th day of the month.
Since SSCMI’s contract started on May 1, wages were only occasionally delayed for at most one to two days, which the agency said were due to bank issues, said Azusana.
But recently, SSCMI said it has been experiencing financial difficulties because it has been unable to properly collect payment from its clients for the past months, resulting in delayed compensation.
Azusana reported that security guards outside UPD, employed by the agency for different institutions, have also been experiencing salary delays.
But the actual reason SSMCI has not been granted its collection since the start of its term was due to its improper compliance with UP's billing process, said an official from the Public Safety and Security Office (PSSO) who was not authorized to speak publicly. The agency must also pay for a portion of the PAG-IBIG, PhilHealth, and Social Security System (SSS) contributions of its security guards, proof of which is necessary to collect payment from UPD.
The billing is now at least being processed in the Diliman Accounting Office, said the PSSO official, but maintained that the agency must still be fully financially responsible for the guards’ salaries regardless of invoice complications, in accordance with its TOR.
SSCMI did, however, remit the guards P2,000 during their previous payday to compensate for the delay, but SNG-UPD asserted that this was not enough given their bills to pay.
"Kagaya ko po na [itong sahod] lang po ang inaasahan … single parent din po kasi ako … mas mahirap po para sa’kin yung [delay],” said Emily Moreno, a UPD security guard of 12 years.
For Moreno, the late payment of her P12,000 to P13,000 salary means she can’t settle her rent and existing debt, on top of her two children’s needs, especially with the return to classes the week that had followed their expected payday.
"Wag nila i-compromise … yung pamilya namin. Yan lang ang source of income namin, paano naman kami?" Azusana said.
SNG-UPD wrote to SSCMI on Tuesday and called the agency’s office telephone number but received no response. No agency representative was available at their local office within the UPD campus to give a statement, either.
Security guards make P610 per hour, in compliance with the recent minimum wage hike across Metro Manila, with overtime pay for their 12-hour duties.
This situation is reminiscent of the two months and 19 days of delayed salaries to the point of non-payment during Femjeg Security Agency’s term last year. To this day, the affected security guards have yet to be paid back their wages. ●
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