MANILA, Philippines – The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) revealed a new loan scheme to keep its members from turning to private lenders to borrow funds.

Under the GSIS Financial Assistance Program (GFAL), members of the state pension fund may transfer their loan of up to Php500,000 from duly accredited lending institutions, such as cooperatives and government banks.

The new feature offers a lower interest rate of six percent per annum and a repayment period of six years.

GSIS Chairman and Officer-in-Charge Rolando Macasaet said in a statement that if a member’s total loan is below Php500,000, the balance “may be applied for as Top-Up Loan, with the proceeds directly payable to the borrowers through check.”

Macasaet encourages members to “optimize their GFAL and take advantage of the lower rate and longer payment terms” instead of getting loans from private lenders.

Last May 2018, the GFAL was initially offered to Department of Education (DepEd) employees and public school teachers.

Earlier this year, President Duterte lamented how loan sharks would take advantage of government employees, including teachers, who need financial assistance through their “5-6” lending schemes that are characterized by high interest rates.

In July, the GFAL was expanded to include non-DepEd agencies and local government units.

“We heeded their demand recognizing that all GSIS members should enjoy the same privileges for the sake of equality and fairness,” Macasaet added.

Those who are qualified to apply for the program are active regular members and special members who have permanent employment status. They must “have no pending administrative case or criminal charge, and are not on leave without pay.”

Additional requirements are that applicants should have no due and demandable loan account with GSIS, have at least a three-year period with paid premiums, and have a take-home pay that is not less than Php5,000.

Borrowers are only allowed to apply for GFAL and the Top-Up Loan once. (HGBH/LMO)

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