This refers to the story, “Addressing teachers’ woes” by Charlie V. Manalo, which was published on 27 September 2018.
In his article, Mr. Manalo mentioned that “some teachers fell victims to the incompetency of some personnel of . . . GSIS for failure to collect their monthly amortization from their salaries.”
Allow us to explain the loan repayment process to enlighten everyone. Under the Electronic Billing and Collection System (EBCS), GSIS sends a weekly Notice to Deduct to all government agencies, including DepED. The notice contains the list of their employee-borrowers with corresponding amount of amortizations to pay. The monthly billing is also electronically sent by GSIS to agencies through eBCS. Both files authorize collection officers to regularly deduct amortizations of borrowers from their salary until their loan is fully paid. If the amortization was not deducted from their salary, the borrowers may pay it directly to GSIS. Further, DepEd and GSIS are closely coordinating with each other to address ensuing concerns of teachers in the collection and settlement of their loans.
Mr. Manalo also laments the teachers’ perennial bondage to private lending institutions (PLIs), which he said DepEd Circular No. 5 seeks to resolve. GSIS and DepEd precisely share his sentiment. The newly launched GSIS Financial Assistance Loan (GFAL), in fact, hopes to ‘liberate’ teachers from the lure of heavy borrowing from PLIs, which only sinks them deeper into debts and hampers their ability to repay their loans. GFAL has an interest rate of only 6 percent and a term of six years. A balance transfer and debt-consolidation facility in one, GFAL also promotes good money management practices by requiring qualified teacher-borrowers to undergo an evaluation and counseling process via the GSIS Financial Literacy Seminar before their loan application is approved.
Moreover, we wish to emphasize that GSIS is not entering into an agreement with the Unionbank of the Philippines with regard to “refinancing of teachers loan” as alleged in the article. The refinancing of loans obtained from PLIs is an option given by GSIS to DepEd employees and not to any bank or institution, for that matter. UBP is one of the service banks of GSIS, which releases loan proceeds to the accounts of members and pensioners through e-crediting.
In a recent development and as part of mitigating “teachers’ woes,” GSIS has extended the deadline for all GSIS members to settle past due loan accounts to one more month or until Oct. 31, 2018. This is to give more time for DepEd employees as well as other members with overdue accounts to benefit from the condoned penalties and surcharges of the Enhanced Consolidated Loan Program. Notwithstanding, GSIS remains steadfast in reminding its members that delayed or non-payment of loans may impair their retirement and other benefits due them or their family
We thank Mr. Manalo for conveying his opinion on various concerns that affect teachers. He has our earnest assurance that the well-being of teachers and non-teaching personnel of DepEd, who constitute more than half of GSIS’s total membership, remains our paramount consideration.
JESUS CLINT O. ARANAS
President and General Manager
Government Service Insurance System