COTABATO CITY (MindaNews/17 April) – Acting Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Mujiv Hataman yesterday said his administration has solved 60% the problems hounding the regional Department of Educations (DepEd) in particular the existence of so-called ghost teachers and schools.
“It is only recently that we had realized that there are a lot of items in the DepEd. An example is that many of those declared dead were still receiving salary,” Hataman said in a report delivered yesterday to mark his first 100 days in office.
“Last December when we implemented salaries receivable through bank transactions, more than 20 million [pesos] came back to us. Most of those who weren’t able to claim were already dead, retired or now living abroad,” he said.
The governor also said they are now finding ways to prevent teachers from falling victims to loan sharks who would connive with supervisors in withholding their ATM cards.
With the ATM cards in the hands of the loan financiers, the teachers no longer have control over their own salaries, he said.
“We will put a stop to the these activities that victimize our teachers. I had issued a directive to investigate these supervisors until we will be able to stop and remove them from their positions and put an end to the cheating done on our teachers salary,” said Hataman.
In the press conference after his address, Hataman said that starting June this year, they wont be releasing salaries through ATMs or checks but through DepEd personnel and representatives from the ARMM Watch and other civil society organizations.
He also revealed that some teachers would adjust their age to extend their length of service, and there is a DepEd superintendent who reportedly did not even pass the examination for the position.
He added that the regional DepEd did not submit contributions to the Government Service Insurance System.
Discrepancies in the number of teachers were also brought out. ARMM DepEd records showed that the region supposedly had 22,000 teachers, but new data said it only hired 20,000.
The ARMM government further found out that only 18,000 teachers were enrolled with the GSIS.
“The data that we have has been very confusing for all of us but definitely we are getting to the bottom of all this. We are now waiting for the data from the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) to fully confirm all of these data to further help us with our cross-validations,” Hataman said.
The governor also revealed that aside from ghost teachers there are ghost schools in the ARMM and that his office has now taken steps to pinpoint these non-existent schools that had been receiving budget from DepEd for several years.
In an interview, ARMM DepEd Secretary Jamar Kuleyan confirmed the existence of such schools and that they are now taking steps to end such practice.
He cited Laminusa Island which was intended for Badjaos, a nomadic people. He said two ghost schools were reported in the area last year.
Kuleyan added they had confirmed two more ghost high schools in Tawi-tawi, and are investigating several reports of similar situations in Marawi City and other parts of the ARMM. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)