EDUCATION Secretary Jesli Lapus on Wednesday urged local government officials to help teachers to have their own house and lot to alleviate their living conditions and at the same time helping the education sector as a whole.

Lapus made the appeal following the forging of a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Department of Education (DepEd) and the local government of Bogo City in Cebu to provide house and lot package to some 106 teachers and DepEd non-teaching personnel.

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The MOA signing also coincided with the ground breaking ceremonies of the Teachers’ Village in Buac, Don Pedro, Bogo City, which will be facilitated through affordable schemes under the Pag-IBIG Fund.

The construction of houses will start within two to three months and the first phase of the program is expected to be completed in six to seven months.

Lapus lauded Bogo City led by Mayor Celestino Martinez Jr. for showing active support and help teachers to have their own home.

“When we provide teachers opportunities to own their homes, we not only alleviate their living conditions by offering security and stability to their family, but also we boost their morale,” Lapus said.

“We hope other LGUs follow suit as more teachers are in dire need to have their own homes,” he added.

In the agreement, the Bogo City-LGU partners identified and provided the land site for the project, which is just behind the new city hall.

The total development and construction cost within the socialized housing level is P400,000 maximum. The loan will be payable in equal monthly amortizations for 30 years at 6 percent per annum. DepEd will facilitate loan repayment through salary deduction.

Aside from teachers in Bogo City, permanent non-teaching DepEd employees who do not have an outstanding multi-purpose loan in arrears at the time of the loan and not more than 65 years old at the time of loan application and not more than 70 years old at loan maturity are among those who are qualified to the program.

Mayor Martinez and DepEd Assistant Secretary for Special Projects and Chairman of DepEd Housing Project Jonathan Malaya led the groundbreaking of the Teachers’ Village.

The Project Coordinating Team composed of representatives of DepEd, LGU-Bogo City, and Pag-IBIG will be primarily responsible in monitoring, coordinating and ensuring that the project is implemented and accomplished within the agreed timeframe and in accordance with the approved plans and specifications.

Last year, DepEd also forged an agreement with the Pag-IBIG Fund, Habitat for Humanity and Gawad Kalinga to enable teachers to have access to socialized housing.

Dubbed “Project Shelter,” the project according to Lapus will provide an opportunity to teachers, now numbering close to half a million “to have a roof over their head.”

Lapus said the total development and construction cost of socialized housing is placed at P300,000 to P400,000 at the maximum level.

In November, DepEd and its partners break ground on the first phase of the project in Daet, Camarines Norte following a consultative meeting and the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement.

The initial 150 beneficiaries follow the Green Village concept, in which a farm lot is provided for each beneficiary for planting and gardening.

In Caloocan, DepEd now has a master list of DepEd employee-beneficiaries. With the partner LGUs, the department is scouting for a site for the project. The project is also currently being considered in Murcia, Negros Occidental; Davao City; Malaybalay, Bukidnon; and Samal City. (AH/Sunnex)