Thursday, June 4, 2009

Figures don't Lie, but Liars Figure.

Remember Mrs. AL, the 64-year-old seamstress who went to PDIC SSS building on May 15 to beg for the release of a check to pay for a breast biopsy? She filed claims for six time deposits last March 24, 2009.

Well, she went back to the same PDIC office on Friday, May 30 to plead her case. Once again, she brought her ultrasound findings, and only got as far as the information counter. Once again, the poor woman was told to wait for a letter that would inform her of the status of her claims; the clerk told her that's the way it is. It has been almost ten long weeks since she filed her claims.

Mrs. AL is very desperate. Aside from her required biopsy, her 67-year-old husband Mr. RL suffered his third stroke last Sunday. When before he could talk though garbled, now he is mute. He needs to see a doctor, but his wife worries that the doctor would prescribe treatment that they can scarcely afford. It is a daily struggle for her to put food on the table and buy their maintenance medicines. She cannot understand why PDIC is taking so long to give her back her hard-earned money: they cannot even give her P50,000 which is the value of one of her CTDs.

It is therefore hilarious to read Mr. Nograles press release urging 34,000 account holders to file claims to speed up the processing of their claims. It is impossible to imagine that six months have already passed, but there are still a large 25% of the total accounts that remain unclaimed. And he wants more claims to be filed when PDIC has a hard time processing claims that were earlier filed. What game is he playing? The age-old game of Charade.

What is puzzling is his announcement that 51,847 accounts were already verified and are eligible for claims: of this number, 17,359 filed for claims, and 13,970 were already paid. Well, all these statistics mean nothing to Mr. and Mrs. RL who are in dire need of money- their money. Borrowing again the words of Disraeli and popularized by Mark Twain when statistics were used to bolster an argument: "There are three kinds of lies: lies,damned lies, and statistics."

And all that Mr. Nograles is trumpeting is this sad fact: that only those accounts below P15,000 have been paid out. Ask Mrs. AL and we are sure that she will agree to this Mark Twain quotation: figures don't lie, but liars figure!

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