DON’T look now, but 655,582 teaching and non-teaching personnel of the Department of Education (DepEd) are borrowers of private lending institutions (PLIs) and government funding institutions (GFIs).
The figure represents 70.21 percent of DepEd’s total personnel of 933,697 as of August 2020.
That’s why the department is on the right track in urging partner PLIs and GFIs to provide a flexible and manageable loan payment for its personnel in accordance with the provisions of the Bayanihan Act 2 (BA2).
Republic Act (RA) No. 11494, otherwise known as the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (BA2), mandates banks and other non-bank financial institutions to grant a one-time 60-day grace period for paying loans.
This is to ease the burden of the Filipino people, including DepEd’s teaching and non-teaching personnel, amid the crippling coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In fact, Education Secretary Leonor Briones has written GFIs and PLIs strongly urging them to go beyond the 60-day grace period, according to DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn M. Sevilla.
And out of the 173 lending institutions offering services to DepEd personnel, 89 agreed not only to adhere to BA2, but also to extend the payment period to another two months in the payroll.
Likewise, they completely waived the accrued interest for the 60-day grace period on payment of loans.
And to think that many of the 89, except the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and MTMASI/MTLSAI, “ay maliliit na PLIs pero they really understand the welfare of our teachers and employees,” said Sevilla.
Of course, what the public is awaiting is when the other sectors of Philippine society will show their genuine concern for the welfare of our overworked but underpaid teachers not only in the metropolis but elsewhere.