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Saturday, October 1, 2011

P2.5B allotted to settle unpaid GSIS dues of teachers

The national government has earmarked an initial P2.5 billion to settle the unpaid compulsory social security contributions of thousands of public school teachers, House Assistant Majority Leader and Cebu Rep. Eduardo Gullas said Sunday.

The new allocation for the overdue contributions to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) is contained in the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund of the proposed P1.816-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2012, according to Gullas.

“We welcome President Aquino’s decision to address the unpaid obligations. This will restore the GSIS membership of thousands of teachers, and enable them to reap the commensurate benefits,” Gullas, a member of the House committee on appropriations, said.

“Our teachers deserve absolute support. They are already overworked and underpaid as it is. We should make it fairly easy for them to obtain loans and other benefits from the GSIS,” Gullas, an educator, added.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has acknowledged that government owes the GSIS up to P9 billion worth of contributions.

The arrears represent the employer’s share as well as the employee’s portion of the GSIS dues of thousands of civil servants, mostly teachers hired in recent years.

“The P2.5 billion allotted for 2012 is just the initial payment. The DBM said the entire balance will be settled in installments over the next five years,” Gullas said.

The previous administration allowed the unpaid dues to pile up. As a result, thousands of teachers have been deprived of entitlements as bonafide GSIS members, including their eligibility to obtain quick low-cost loans.

With government’s commitment to make the payments, Gullas said the GSIS has agreed to condone P15 billion worth of interest charges previously slapped on the outstanding dues.

The GSIS earlier warned that more than 25,000 civil servants stand to lose their pensions and other benefits, unless national agencies and local government units (LGUs) in default settle their dues.

The pension fund said 287 agencies and LGUs have already been suspended for negligence in remitting their employees’ contributions and loan repayments.

Employees of these delinquent public offices are now ineligible to apply for loans and receive cash dividends from the GSIS. House Assistant Majority Leader EDUARDO R. GULLAS First District, Cebu

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