SENATOR Grace Poe has sought an inquiry into the Department of Education’s (DepEd) directive allowing teachers’ loan payments to be deducted from their salaries.
Poe filed Resolution 546 seeking a probe on the report that some teachers “received only P300 to P600 for the previous’ months’ payroll” because of DepEd’s directive.
“The state should remember that in building the lives of students, we are also building a nation,” she said.
“It is thus fitting that the country honors and recognizes the people who mold us and, by doing so, ensure that the country is in a constant supply of professionals, scholars and future leaders,” Poe added.
She noted that under Section 47 of the 2017 General Appropriations Act, “in no case shall mandatory contributions and loans by government employees from private and public lending institutions reduce the employees’ monthly net take home pay to an amount lower than P4,000.”
DepEd allegedly violated the 2017 GAA when it issued on July 31 DO 38-2017 stating that automatic salary deductions already incorporated in the payroll should be continued “even if this effectively reduces the NTHP [net take home pay]to lower than the P4,000 threshold.”
The order also provided that premiums and loan payments due to state insurer Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-Ibig Fund) should be prioritized over other contributions or loans.
Poe said the latest directive is being blamed for allowing loan payments to be deducted from teachers’ salaries that result in a “shrunk take-home pay,” according to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list and the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition.
DepEd defended its move saying that “discontinuing or reducing existing deductions could result in the imposition of penalties upon borrowers that would be very disruptive, as it would require significant changes in the payroll system, and would also lead to unreasonable exercise of discretion as to which deductions should be retained or postponed.”
The total loan obligation of DepEd personnel with GSIS was pegged at P23 billion or about 10 percent of total portfolio of the GSIS. It was reported the DepEd has a high default rate of almost 40 percent. BERNADETTE TAMAYO