Tuesday, August 12, 2008

from PGMA Education

House urged to pass bill giving major compensation to public school
teachers
MANILA, Aug. 12 (PNA) â€" Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary
Jesli Lapus on Tuesday urged the House of Representatives to approve
House Bill 4734 that authorizes public school teachers to be
compensated an additional one-time increase of P9,000 within three
years of its becoming law and another P3,000 every year thereafter.

Its Senate counterpart, Senate Bill 2408, has been passed on second
reading.

Through Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya, DepEd has been lobbying
in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The total increase will make teachers' pay at par with those received
by soldiers and policemen, Malaya noted.

"The welfare of teachers and the benefits due them are foremost in our
priority," Lapus also reiterated.

DepEd recently ordered the release of funds from the DepEd 2007 NCR
savings for the payment of the much-awaited 1999 "over-and-above"
allowances of NCR public school teachers.

The initial release of P77.8 million allowed the immediate payment of
some P500 million in unpaid benefits for some 10,000 teachers in
eleven NCR cities. Some of these teachers will be getting as much as
P60,000 each.

"DepEd gives its full support for the approval of House Bill 4734 and
Senate Bill 2408 because we have always been cognizant of the need to
improve the lot of our teachers," Lapus said.

When Lapus assumed office at DepEd in 2006 he immediately worked for
the updating of teachers' service records (SR). For years, teachers
complained of unauthorized deductions in their contributions with the
Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) because of discrepancies in
the records of DepEd and GSIS. Just 6.6 per cent of the SRs remains
unencoded though already submitted to GSIS.

Last year, DepEd paid about P1.7 billion in arrears representing
government shares in GSIS contribution for teachers.

DepEd explained the arrears resulted from the increase in GSIS premium
from 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent for the period from July 1997 to
December 1998.

Another P862 million was released to cover employees' compensation
insurance premium adjustments when the GSIS increased the premium from
P30 to P100.

DepEd also released P400 million last year to partially settle unpaid
loyalty pays, step increments and other entitlements of DepEd
personnel especially teachers. This is in addition to the P388 million
released to cover PhilHealth premium adjustments because of the
increase in premiums from P100 to P112.

In November 2007, DepEd signed a memorandum of agreement with Gawad
Kalinga, Pag-Ibig Fund, and some pioneering local government units to
undertake an affordable housing program for its more than 90,000
teachers who do not have their own homes yet.

Another beneficial move for teachers under Lapus is the reduced actual
classroom working hours for teachers under guidelines set in June, in
consonance with a Civil Service Commission ruling.
- By Gloria Jane Baylon (PNA)

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