DepEd-GSIS pact to help teachers not sink into debt

Pres. Duterte witnesses the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Education and the Government Service Insurance System at the Reception Hall in Malacañan Palace on April 16, 2018. (PCOO image)

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday witnessed the signing of an agreement that would help hundreds of thousands of teachers and non-teaching personnel free themselves from burden of loans and over-borrowing.

The Department of Education (DepEd) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA), which stipulates that teachers and other DepEd personnel can apply for loans under the GSIS Financial Assistance Loan to DepEd Personnel (GFAL) to facilitate the payment of their loans from private lending institutions (PLIs).

“Layunin po ng nasabing MOA ay mapabuti ang kakayahang pinansiyal ng mga guro natin, kasama na ang mga kawani ng DepEd. Aayusin po natin ang mga loans nila sa pamamagitan ng refinancing upang mapangalagaan ang kanilang mga benepisyo mula sa GSIS,” said Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, who witnessed the signing.

“Isang pangako na naman po ng Presidente ang natupad sa pagtutulungan ng ating mga ahensya sa gobyernong Duterte.M abuhay ang ating mga Gurong Pilipino!” said Go.

“We don’t want DepEd employees to sink deep into debt, so we have proposed a better way for them to manage their finances,” GSIS President and General Manager Jesus Clint Aranas said.

Aranas said having several loans have weakened the capability of teachers and DepEd personnel to pay their monthly GSIS premiums and contributions.

“Payment of their GSIS premiums and loans usually take a back seat. If the practice continues, their future GSIS benefits are bound to suffer,” he said.

Under GFAL, the qualified members’ existing loans with PLIs will be refinanced by GSIS with 6 percent per annum interest rate and a longer loan term of up to six years.

Qualified members may borrow up to P500,000, provided that their take-home pay will not go lower than P5,000.

DepEd Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones emphasized that the GFAL is voluntary, giving teachers and non-teaching personnel of DepEd the option to get out of indebtedness with PLIs.

She said the GFAL would also ensure the preservation of the benefits of the teachers and other personnel in the GSIS.

The project reinforces the issuance of DepEd Order No. 38 in July last year, reiterating the instruction to prioritize premium and loan payments for GSIS.

If a private lender has filed a case against GSIS members for nonpayment of obligations after GSIS loan payments have been prioritized by virtue of DO 38, such members are still eligible to apply for GFAL.

p: wjg