Teachers’ Day: Of loans, pawned ATM cards and meeting Sara
MANILA, Philippines — Public school teachers are “clinging on a knife’s edge” as they resort to different schemes just to avail themselves of loans from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and other private lending institutions, with some even opting to pawn their ATM cards to nonaccredited entities.
Some teachers who earn as much as P50,000 monthly still need to take out loans to pay for their housing, education and health needs, said Benjo Basas, chair of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC).“These loans are not for luxuries because some teachers use the money to buy laptops. We will not [borrow money] if our salaries are enough,” Basas said in a phone interview on Sunday.
On World Teachers’ Day, teachers renew their push for salary upgrades and better benefits, including the reform of “unfair” policies, such as compounded salary deductions for late remittances in the GSIS, where more than half of the membership consist of Department of Education (DepEd) employees.