In The News
According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer (posted yesterday night), citing reports from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Cebu and Davao teachers were told by their superiors to pay for the cash cards and wait for almost two months before they can get their honorarium.
Per the PDI report, “The Department of Education (DepEd) said it made an arrangement with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) so that the teachers could get their election honoraria and allowances on time through their Landbank payroll accounts or through cash cards that would be mailed to them a few days before the elections.”
Read the full report here.
Kindly report to ACT TEACHERS (election hotlines: 09295748870 and 09273289701) if your Division employs a similar practice where poll workers are asked to open and pay for new cash cards and are expecting delayed poll service honorarium. Thank you.
(Click here for the video of the interview.)
With about 1,000 voters per BEI, longer travel, unresolved technical PCOS problems, heightened security risks, and other issues related to election service, teachers and DepEd employees deputized by the COMELEC for the 2013 polls demand:
1. honorarium higher than P4,000, which was reduced by P300 from the honorarium during 2010 elections, to compensate for the heavier workload due to precinct clustering and longer travel to their places of assignment;
2. more effective measures by the PNP and law enforcement agencies to ensure their physical security;
3. legal protection from DepEd extending even after the elections, to cover the defense of poll workers against political harassment through criminal and administrative cases; and
4. increased insurance coverage, even better, and hazard pay.
“Hindi natin matatawaran ang papel ng teachers even in automated elections, kaya dapat lang bigyan sila ng karampatang compensation.” -ACT TEACHERS Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio
Reposted from GMA News Online (http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/301275/news/nation/gsis-to-refund-p126m-to-deped-employees)
GSIS to refund P126M to DepEd employees
The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) will refund a total of P126.47 million to more than 20,500 active and retired employees of the Department of Education (DepEd) beginning April.
Covered by the refund — the second since January — are employees whose cash surrender value (amount paid to the policyholder upon separation from the service) or maturity benefit (benefit payable upon maturity of the endowment policy) were deducted premiums-in-arrears for July 1997 to December 2010.
According to the state-run pension fund, the second tranche of refund represents the payment of premium contributions pertaining to the government share, which were previously deducted from the life insurance benefits of the employees.
Last January, GSIS provided an initial refund of P362.35 million that benefited more than 73,000 DepEd personnel.
This was after the GSIS received the P3.46 billion payment of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) representing half of the total P6.92 billion in unpaid compulsory premium contributions, or the government’s share of more than 800,000 teaching and non-teaching employees of the DepEd from July 1, 1997 to December 31, 2010.
“The settlement formed part of a milestone agreement signed in September last year, among DBM, DepEd and GSIS, which finally addressed the chronic issue on the non-remittance of premiums affecting the right of DepEd workers to avail themselves of their full GSIS benefits while in service and upon their retirement,” said GSIS president and general manager Robert Vergara.
As a result of the second tranche of refund, “more than 14,000 DepEd employees in active service will enjoy a proportionate increase in loanable amounts and potentially, increased retirement benefits,” Vergara said.
GSIS said it would also recalculate the benefits received by 6,530 separated and retired employees and will refund any deducted amount. — KBK, GMA News
ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said President Benigno Aquino III is “no different” from his predecessor, former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in using the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF)—commonly known as pork barrel—for political gains.
“It’s a reality of patronage politics that Malacañang makes use of its power to release or withhold pork barrel in the amounts, timing, and to whom it so chooses in order to exert influence on legislature, make or break election campaigns, and build or destroy political bailiwicks,” Tinio said in a text message.
He added that the administration’s decision to make Akbayan Rep. Arlene Bag-ao, who is seeking a congresssional post in the island-province in the May elections, as the “caretaker” of Dinagat Islands goes against Aquino’s “tuwid na daan (straight path)” slogan.
On Wednesday, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported the DBM Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. admitted that the P140-million fund for Dinagat Islands was “facilitated through” Bag-ao after the province’s former congressman, Ruben Ecleo Jr., was dropped from the list of House members last June.
Ecleo, a cult leader in the province, remains at large despite having been found guilty of graft by the Sandiganbayan. The guilty verdict has already been affirmed by the Supreme Court.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. reportedly chose Bag-ao, whose party-list is closely associated with the Aquino administration, as Dinagat Islands’ caretaker after Ecleo was removed from Congress.
‘All accounted for’
Akbayan, meanwhile, defended Bag-ao and maintained that there was nothing irregular about her role as caretaker of Dinagat Islands.
“Bag-ao, who hails from Dinagat, immediately attended to the pressing needs of the people of the province, particularly in securing funds for much-delayed infrastructure and social service programs,” the party-list said in separate statement.
It added that Bag-ao handled the funds transparently, and even described the release of the pork barrel through her as “a people’s victory.”
“These releases were all accounted for and reflected in the report submitted to the DBM by the office of Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, a practice that Akbayan party-list has been dutifully fulfilling for the last 15 years. It is sad that some only see the coming election with the release of the said fund,” Akbayan’s statement read. — KBK, GMA News