July 15, 2008

Outgoing SSS chief details 'stress' on the job

“I’m going to make a baby.”

This was just classic Corazon de la Paz-Bernardo. I ask a serious question why she is resigning from the Social Security System (SSS) after being its president for seven years, and she makes a joke out of it. Hearty laughter follows her declaration—both from her and me; I suppose she is probably tired of answering the same question over and over again since news of her leaving, and subsequent replacement, hit the media. (Blogger's note: Dela Paz-Bernardo remarried last October, thus, the baby-making comment.)

She turns serious: “You know, I no longer have a colon. Then last December, I went to the hospital because I had a bleeding ulcer. That and my back,” referring to her scoliosis. “Everything happened to me while I was in SSS, all these stresses! It’s time for me to look after myself.”

De la Paz-Bernardo discloses, though, that she will still be involved in the government’s social-security program in one way or another. “I’m just not sure how it will be done,” she says, whether it will be on a consultancy basis or an actual government appointment. She explains the government position is necessary for her to retain her leadership at the helm of the International Social Security Association (Issa). Through Issa, she has made headway in helping Filipinos and other migrant workers get social- security coverage in the countries where they are working. (The rest of my interview with Cora dela Paz-Bernardo in BusinessMirror.)

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Read the PR spin on Romy Neri's appointment as SSS chief, from monkeys in the Palace: Click here

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