1 in every 7
teachers face GSIS loan woes
Alliance of Concerned
October 23, 2018
QUEZON CITY – More
than 122,000, or 1 in every 7 public school teachers, are confronted
with due and demandable loan arrears which need to be settled until
October 31 as per the records of the Government Service Insurance
System (GSIS). Teachers protested over the ballooning of arrears
which are mainly caused by the failure of GSIS and the Department of
Education (DepEd) to make the agency-to-agency loan payment work
through the automatic salary deduction system.
In a tripartite dialogue
with GSIS and DepEd arranged by ACT Teachers Party-list last week,
both agencies refused to take responsibility for the debacle. GSIS
denied teachers' demand to condone the compounded interests and
penalties and warned instead of an additional 12% interest
imposition if arrears are not settled on the set deadline. DepEd, on
the other hand, offered no reprieve and even called on teachers to
'cooperate and move forward,' saying that the problem was the doing
of past administrations.
“The two agencies have
created a colossal problem but refuse to take any responsibility. It
is highly unfair that they want to penalize teachers for the failure
of their rotten systems,” said Joselyn Martinez, chairperson of the
Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines.
Martinez hold the DepEd
accountable for many years that it has “illegally prioritized the
deduction of loan payments for private lending institutions instead
of the GSIS.” She added that this is a classic example of how
teachers are made to suffer due to corruption within the agency.
“GSIS cannot evade
accountability as well. What did the agency do during those years
when DepEd was not remitting loan payments? Apparently, GSIS likes
it better for loans to compound as it spells bigger profits for
them,” Martinez stated.
Martinez denounced GSIS'
unbending stand to make teachers shoulder the full cost of the
arrears when “the problem of incompatible and unreliable computer
systems of both agencies remain unresolved.”
“Even if teachers settle
their arrears now through restructuring, the problem will only
repeat as the roots of the problem are not addressed,” she lamented.
Martinez said that the
stance of both agencies show their “insensitivity and complete
disregard of teachers’ welfare in the midst of soaring inflation and
erosion of the purchasing power of teachers' salaries.”
“Teachers apply for loans
mainly due to scant salaries and not because of whims or caprices.
The inadequacy of pay remains the reason for our inability to pay
the arrears, which in the first place are unjustly computed. This is
not acceptable to teachers,” said Martinez.
ACT reiterated their
demand to the Duterte administration for substantial salary increase
of P30,000 for Teacher 1. They also push for an immediate increase
of the Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA) from P2,000 to
P5,000 to cope with the soaring inflation.