MANILAA coalition of teachers sees the implementation of the welfare provisions of Magna Carta for Public School Teachers as the best way to "free" educators nationwide from the bondage of debt.
In an interview with Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday, Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) national chairperson Benjo Basas explained that the memorandum of agreement which the Department of Edudaion (DepEd) and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) have entered into "could help the teachers ease the burden of paying their loans in a better term but it could not free them from debt."
On Apr. 16, 2016 DepEd and GSIS signed a MOA which stipulates that teachers and other DepEd personnel can apply for loans under GFAL to facilitate the payment of their loans from private lending institutions PLIs. It aims to keep "DepEd employees from sinking deep into debt and have a better way for them to manage their finances."
"Ang GSIS Financial Assistance Loan to DepEd personnel (GFAL) makakatulong 'yan dahil kapag binili ng GSIS ang utang ng mga guro saprivate lending institutions (PLIs) wala na silang magiging utang sa iba, pero may utang pa rin siya sa GSIS (The GFAL would also be helpful when GSIS buys out the debts from PLIs, they won't have debt to others, but they still have debt to GSIS)," Basas said.
He said although GSIS has adjusted the terms and conditions of loans from the usual 12 percent nominal interest rate per annum down to six percent, "there are still some PLIs which offer lower than that, according to reports which the group is yet to confirm."
Basas said that the implementation of Magna Carta could solve teachers' debt because it is complete in terms of provisions that will uplift the well-being of teachers.
"Even the issue of salary, the criteria for salary of teachers are provided in magna carta, eh kung sinusunod na lang 'yan ng gobyerno eh 'di wala tayong issues na gaya nito (if the government will implement it then there will be no issues like these)," he said.
"With magna carta, these problems would have been resolved since 1966 pa...pero hindi ito naaksyunan ng (but this is not acted upon by the) government...and we challenge the government to act immediately on this," he added.
Basas said the issue of debt among teachers has its socio-economic origin.
"Basically socio-economic issue yan, how the society perceive the teachers, kung nakikita nila na walang sariling bahay o informal settlers, hindi man makapag-paaral ng sariling anak nang mabuti, kapos sa pera at nangungutang lahat 'yan may effect sa image ng teachers (Basically that is a socio-economic issue, how the society perceives the teachers, if they see that teachers don't have their own homes or are informal settlers, can't send their children to school properly, no enough money and have loans all that have effect on teachers' image)," he said.
He said their group is in constant communication with DepEd and they have suggested a salary rate that can help teachers raise their families well.
"At least 30,000 pesos sana pero debatable ang pagiging enough nyan sa totoong buhay...sana matutukan ng gobyerno para rin naman ma-entice ang young people and cream of the crop na pumasok sa teaching profession (At least 30,000 pesos hopefully but it's being enough is debatable in real life...hopefully the government focuses on it so that the young people and the cream of the crop will be enticed to enter the teaching profession)," he said. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency