Two militant lawmakers on Tuesday appealed to the Duterte administration to include in its legislative priorities the proposed revision of the Government Service Insurance System Act.
ACT Teachers Party-list Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro said having the bill included in the legislative priority “will address the urgent and long-running concerns of government employees, many of whom public school teachers.”
“We strongly urge this administration to consider GSIS reforms as among its legislative priorities as this will ensure, after we are done finalizing the bill, its immediate calendaring for business of the plenary by the House leadership and approval by the House,” Tinio said.
Tinio headed the technical working group tasked to consolidate various bills that amends seeking the amend Republic Act 8291 or the GSIS Act of 1997. The proposals contained in House Bill 471or An Act Strengthening the Government Service Insurance System and HB 59 which lowers the optional retirement age of public school teachers to 55 years old.
“We need to arrest and correct problems in the GSIS administration which had been gravely affecting GSIS members for so long such as fund mismanagement, poor recordkeeping, irregular remittances, inefficient collection, lack of transparency and outright abuse and corruption on the part of the GSIS, employer agencies, and their officials,” Tinio said.
HB 471 proposes amendments to the GSIS charter that will institutionalize members’ rights and employer agency’s responsibilities.
“Through this measure, we are seeking the imposition of stricter penalties on erring officials and the establishment of mechanisms that will prevent teachers and other GSIS members from shouldering the burden caused by the negligence and shortcomings on the part of their employer agencies and/or the GSIS management,” Castro said.
“To ensure transparency and as an efficient mechanism of raising the members’ pressing issues in the level of policy-making, the proposed measure will mandate the representation of a leading teaching or non-teaching organization accreditation by the Civil Service Commission,” she added.
Similarly, Castro batted for the passage of HB 59. “It is high time that the government heed teachers’ clamor for the option to retire at an earlier age. They dedicate twenty, thirty years of their lives in the service of the nation by honing the minds and nurturing the hearts of our youth, in spite of receiving meager salaries, shelling out of their own pockets due to underfunded schools, working in cramped rooms and doing additional, usually unpaid, miscellaneous tasks. Public school teachers are without a doubt underpaid and overworked.”