Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said that the Department of Education (DepEd) will begin integrating its personnel in the National Payroll System to prevent the non-payment of GSIS premiums for all agency employees.
Abad confirmed this in the wake of a tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) signing among the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Department of Education (DepEd), and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
“The DepEd has been tasked by President Aquino to immediately integrate all its employees in the National Payroll System by 2013. This way, GSIS contributions will be automatically deducted from an employee’s salary, precluding the non-payment of GSIS premiums and the non-remittance of GSIS perks due all agency employees. More importantly, this will reinforce the Aquino administration’s agenda of better governance and transparency in the bureaucracy,” Abad said.
To ensure improved accountability within the agency, the DepEd has also been instructed by President Benigno S. Aquino III to press charges against individuals responsible for the agency’s failure to remit the GSIS benefits of 784,602 employees, covering the period between July 1997 and December 2012.
“It’s not enough for us to provide short-term solutions to address this issue, which has already spanned decades. We won’t stop at restoring the benefits that were unremitted to thousands of DepEd employees. The agency will also file cases against parties behind this enormous oversight and make them fully accountable,” Abad said.
During the MOA signing, the DBM committed P6.92B in funds to restore the GSIS benefits owed to all affected personnel of the DepEd. Of this amount, the DBM will release 50 percent or P3.46 billion to jumpstart the payment of unremitted premium contributions to affected DepEd personnel. The amount will be charged against the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund in the 2012 General Appropriations Act, while the remaining balance will be charged against agency savings.
“President Aquino has directed us to work closely with the GSIS and DepEd to restore the full GSIS benefits of all affected DepEd personnel. The MOA signing will ensure the resolution of this longstanding issue, beginning with the settlement of DepEd’s obligations to the GSIS for its employees’ premium contributions,” Abad said.
Once the initial payment has been made, the GSIS will lift the suspension of the loan privileges and other benefits due affected DepEd employees. The remaining balance will be released upon DepEd’s validation of the total outstanding premium obligations, as well as GSIS’ submission of a billing statement, among other requirements.
The budget chief also confirmed that the GSIS has agreed to condone the interest of P14.04 billion racked up by unpaid premiums for the period covered.
GSIS President Robert G. Vergara highlighted the impact of the MOA signing on all affected DepEd employees.
“Active members, whose eligibility for many of our assistance loans and eventually for their retirement, will have these benefits potentially increased. For those who have already retired, we will recalculate what they are entitled to and refund to them any amounts that were deducted, as well as update their pensions to reflect the higher amounts that they will be entitled to as a result of this payment,” Vergara said.