Celebration of Independence in Armm more meaningfulwritten by JK
This years celebration of independence in the ARMM will be unique and more meaningful. Not only because it could be the last celebration under the ARG but also because there is a different kind of freedom and independence that we are going to celebrate beginning today.
Since 1997, less than 10 years from the establishment of the ARMM and barely a year since the signing of The Final Peace Agreement between GPH and the MNLF, DepEd-ARMM started to remiss in remitting both the personal contribution and the government share of the teachers to the GSIS. Due to the large bureaucracy that deped-armm has, its total amount of monthly remittance was already tempting or enticing for the covetous and corrupt heads of the agency. Unknown to the public, remittances of contributions and loan repayments no longer reached the GSIS. Teachers' application for loan were denied, retiring teachers were made to repay for the loan that has long been deducted from their monthly salary by Deped, some retired teachers received lesser or no pension at all. Salaries were delayed and in one instance was never actually paid. It was the dark age of Deped-ARMM. These situations even reached the halls of congress.
For 17 long years, this account of deped-armm hangs like the sword of Damocles over every head of every retiring teacher. It makes retiring stressful rather than something that every government employee anticipates after a long service in government, something they are looking forward to be able to pay off their debts, have their son marry or in most cases pay their way to a pilgrimage to Mecca.
I still can vividly remember my friend's wife, a provisional teacher who joined the teachers' rally in Jolo sometime in 2001. The teachers were complaining about their loan benefits with the GSIS. I was there on invitation from the municipal government of Jolo to convince the teachers to get back to work. Retired teachers also joined the younger ones, among them was my friend's wife. I explained among others that the fine prints allow GSIS to deduct payments from their retirement benefit. I also told them that they should report back to work when ordered by the superintendent. I advise them to demand from the regional government and deped-armm the immediate settlement of the gsis obligations. The teachers went back to work as directed by the superintendent but no action was taken by the ARG.
Three years ago, my friend's wife died and the benefits received by her family was lesser than they expected. The superintendent that issues a return to work order retired a few years after that incident about 300,000.00 poorer than she expected.
Today, however, we are all gathered here by the generosity of the GSIS and the government under the Administration of President Benigno S. Aquino lll and the determination of my administration in making sure that every living, dead and retired teachers received what is due them from the gsis. We are here to bury the mother of all ghosts in the ARMM, placed it in its final resting place without the possibility of resurrection. The long wait, the series of sitting together and our repeated announcement of this settlement on various occasions is finally over.
Today, we have freed our teachers, in service as well as those who already retired, from the uncertainty of the full entitlement of their retirement benefit.
(note: full text was taken from an FB post)