Duterte witnesses signing of pact to help teachers settle loans

By Jelly Musico

MANILA -- 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).

“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 private lending institutions (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 PHP500,000, provided that their take-home pay will not go lower than PHP5,000.

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. (PNA)