MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) said it is finding viable means to address the growing debt of public school teachers, which has reached a staggering P300 billion as of last year.
In a statement yesterday, the agency said it is relentless in its pursuit to protect its employees and their families from financial and legal implications of non-payment of debt.
It noted that around 23,000 teachers retired this year without receiving pension due to unpaid debts.
Among other solutions, DepEd sees the need to curb the culture of over-borrowing by continuously conducting financial literacy seminars.
“DepEd is also exploring measures that will enable its teaching and non-teaching personnel to manage their finances today and prepare for a comfortable future. Among these are the reduction of interest rates on loans through the expansion of the Provident Fund and coordination with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) on a loan buyout,” the statement read.
A loan buyout, DepEd pointed out, will allow a restructuring of loans and provide teachers with lower interest rate on a longer payment term.
Earlier, data it released showed that teachers have incurred P178 billion worth of loans from private lending institutions and P123 billion worth of credits due to GSIS.
With the mounting debt, Education Secretary Leonor Briones issued a department order allowing a deduction of existing obligations despite the P4,000 net take-home-pay threshold set by the law.
Teachers protested and complained of receiving meager salaries way below the threshold, prompting the secretary to repeal the order and mandate the observance of a minimum limit.
The new order will also give first order of preference in salary deduction for the payment of employees’ contributions or obligations to the GSIS and Home Development Mutual Fund, as well as the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp.
DepEd said it duly recognizes the intent of lawmakers representing Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list to probe the repealed order.
“The damage of over-borrowing on the lives of teachers and their families has been going on for years and it can no longer continue. The department is steadfast in its commitment to enable its personnel to truly reap the fruits of their hard work,” DepEd said.
Source: The Philippine Star
By Janvic Mateo | Updated October 29, 2017