Feature: DepEd's Lapus bats for HB 4734
By Miriam P. Aquino
Manila (14 August) -- Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Jesli Lapus pushes for the approval of House Bill (HB) 4734 and its counterpart Senate Bill (SB) 2408, to give due benefits to public school teachers.
DepEd Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said that under instructions of Lapus, the Department has been lobbying in both houses of Congress for the approval of the bill which has already passed second reading in the Senate.
Under the bill, teachers will get an additional pay of P9,000 to be paid in full within three years at P3,000 increase per year, which makes teachers' pay at par with that of soldiers and policemen.
Lapus said that "The welfare of teachers and the benefits due them are foremost in our priority." "DepEd gives its full support for the approval of HB 4734 and SB 2408 because we have always been cognizant of the need to improve the lot of our teachers."
After the opening of classes last June, DepEd issued guidelines on the reduced classroom hours of teachers. This implements the Civil Service Commission ruling that allows teachers a shortened 6 hours of actual classroom teaching instead of the usual 8 hours.
Recently, DepEd ordered initial release of P77.8 million from the DepEd 2007 NCR savings for the immediate payment of some P500 million in unpaid 1999 "over-and-above" allowances /benefits of some 10,000 teachers in eleven NCR cities. Some of them will be getting as much as P60,000 each.
Two years ago, when Lapus assumed office in 2006, he immediately focused on the updating of teachers' service records (SR) due to complaints of discrepancies in records of DepEd with the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) which prompted complaints of "unauthorized deductions" in their GSIS contributions.
DepEd even paid a total of P1.7 billion in arrears of government's share in the GSIS contribution for teachers that resulted from the increase in premiums from 9.5 percent to 12 percent for the period July 1997-December 1998.
Another P862 million was released to cover employees' compensation insurance premium adjustments when GSIS increased premiums from P30 to P100.
Last year, P400 million was released to partially settle unpaid loyalty pays, step increments and other entitlements of DepEd personnel especially teachers in addition to the P388 million fund used to cover PhilHealth premium adjustments because of an increased in premiums from P100 ti P112.
Not only that, in November last year, DepEd signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Gawad Kalinga, Pag-Ibig Fund, and some pioneering local government units, for an affordable housing program initiated for the more than 90,000 teachers who still do not have a house of their own.
Said Bill, if approved by both Houses of Congress and well-implemented would be beneficial not only to the teaching personnels but for students as well as this would make their educators more determined to teach efficiently and effectively given the benefits rightfully due to them. (PIA La Union) [top]