TWO militant lawmakers have sought a congressional investigation in aid of legislation into the Department of Education’s alleged delinquency in remitting the personal and government shares of public school teachers’ Government Service Insurance System premiums.
In filing House Resolution 1729, ACT Teachers Party-list Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro alleged that either delayed or non-remittance by the DepEd of personal and government shares to GSIS resulted in penalties and interests amounting to millions of pesos and deprivation of benefits to members.
“One of the long-running concerns in the field is the delayed remittance or worse, the non-remittance of GSIS premiums, despite the fact that the said contributions are automatically deducted from the teachers’ monthly salaries,” the two lawmakers said in the resolution.
A case in point cited by Tinio was that of the DepEd Batangas Province Division which allegedly failed to remit on time premiums for March, May, June, July in 2017. And this incurred almost P1.93 million in interest. Aside from the delay, the premiums for April 2017 still remain unremitted.
Tinio noted that Section 6 (b) of Republic Act 8219 or the GSIS Act of 1997 mandates each employer to remit directly to the GSIS the employees’ and employers’ contributions within the first 10 days of the calendar month following the month to which the contributions apply. The law also provides for a two percent monthly interest in case of delay.
“However, delays or non-remittances still occur on the part of the DepEd, resulting in penalties and interests amounting to millions of pesos,” Tinio said.
“By law, these interests and penalties must be paid for by the agency using public funds. This is unjust and a big blow to social services such as education which suffer from chronic underfunding,” he added.
For her part, Castro said the DepEd must be held accountable for its alleged failure or negligence in its obligations under the GSIS Law.
“The delayed remittance or non-remittance is through no fault of the teachers but eventually, they are the ones who are deprived of their benefits,” Castro said.
“The DepEd should immediately remit these contributions, and check with all its regional and division offices to see the extent of these problems and if they still exist,” she added.
The two lawmakers urged DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones to address the issue and order the remittance of all pending contributions for GSIS.
“Our teachers should not bear the brunt of DepEd’s negligence. Not even for a day longer,” Castro said.