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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Union opposes fuel cost mitigation bill that would use State Insurance Fund Corp. like an ‘ATM’

Rep. Jesús Santa Rodríguez

By The Star Staff

The board of directors of the State Insurance Fund Corp. Employees Union (UECFSE by its Spanish initials) has unanimously agreed to oppose House Bill 1387, which would order the withdrawal of $165 million from the corporation’s reserve fund to mitigate the increase in the price of fuel and provide financial assistance to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority and the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority.

The bill was introduced on June 2 by Reps. Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Núñez, Juan Oscar Morales Rodríguez, Jesús Santa Rodríguez and Rafael “Tatito” Hernández Montañez as an initiative of Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia.

Union President Lizbeth Mercado Cordero said “once again our rulers are trying to plunder the coffers of the State Insurance Fund Corporation by using the entity as an ‘ATM’ in the face of its ineptitude in dealing with the root of the serious problems of the state.”

Among other arguments, the union leader stated that the legislative action is a sign of the “lack of ideas of the legislators who support the measure as well as the governor who choose to take the easiest path by proposing a multi-million-dollar withdrawal from the State Insurance Fund Corporation’s reserves for supposedly being solvent, instead of presenting the country with a comprehensive plan that addresses the fiscal crisis of the government, its agencies and corporations.”

“We are not going to allow them to get away with it,” Mercado Cordero said. “Enough of improvisations and irresponsible solutions. As a union and as citizens, we demand basic services of excellence at reasonable costs based on efficiencies and short-, medium-, and long-term planning, not immediate strategies that only dress one saint while undressing another.”

“We will do everything in our power, including if it is necessary to return to the streets, to protect the moneys [administered] by CFSE employees to provide services to thousands of injured people from all regions of the country,” the union leader added. “We will also protect the money of employers who, through the payment of their policies, have the right and the expectation that their injured employees be rehabilitated so that they can return to their jobs soon.”

“If the intention is to mitigate the high energy costs, the government should start by extracting the $165 million from LUMA, an entity that in less than a year has increased the rates five times, caring nothing about the impacts that these [hikes] have had on the pockets of the working class of our country,” Mercado Cordero said.

The union board called on the governor and legislators to “withdraw the bill and get to work for the best welfare of the country.”

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