Bill seeks grant of more insurance benefits to all public school teachers

MANILA — In a bid to stop brain drain and improve the plight of teachers, a lawmaker has filed House Bill 1087, seeking the grant of additional insurance benefits to the country’s public school teachers.

Masbate Rep. Scott Davies Lanete, author of the bill, said the benefits would be over and above the benefits public school teachers were currently enjoying from the Government Service Insurance System, particularly under Republic Act. 8291.

The bill, to be known as Public School Teachers’ Insurance Act of 216”, grants death benefits of Php 200,000, burial expenses of Php 50,000 to all teachers who are in active service.

It likewise provides that all teachers — whether they already retired or still in the active service– would also be allowed to reimburse their actual medical expenses not exceeding Php 100,000.

“Teachers are the primary instruments of knowledge,” Lanete said. “It is an established fact that most of the country’s youth education greatly relies on public schools due to the heavy financial burdens private schools impose”.

Lanete noted that for about a decade, hundreds, if not thousands of local public school teachers have left the country in search of greener pastures abroad.

He traced the problem to insufficient salaries and meager benefits provided by the government in contrast to the huge amounts offered in other countries.

“This trend (has) stagnated, if not degraded, the country’s educational program. The problem continues to worsen, and if the government continues to cover its eyes and ears, the country’s illiteracy rate will rise,” Lanete said.

However, the bill provides that no benefits shall be added to any teacher or their beneficiaries when the injury, sickness or death was occasioned or caused by habitual drunkenness or intoxication, willful intention to injure or kill oneself, notorious negligence, and unauthorized absence or abandonment of office for at least one month prior to death or accident.

The GSIS shall conduct an actuarial study to determine the premiums to be paid corresponding to the benefits to be received by the public educators within sixty days.

The GSIS shall also promulgate the rules and regulations necessary to implement the Act, in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).

“As a solution to this predicament, it is essential that the State take a proactive step by providing these public school teachers with additional employment benefits. Only through such solution will the country level the playing field in terms of monetary benefits, and put a stop to the brain drain phenomenon,” Lanete said. PNA/