Estrada says legislation needed for military, police pension plan

(MANILA STANDARD) Senator Jinggoy Estrada said legislation is needed to address the “fiscal hemorrhage” that the current pension system for military and uniformed personnel retirees is causing government coffers.

“Indeed, we are facing a ballooning pension requirement without viable funding sources,” Estrada said.

He said the pensions of military and unformed personnel are way higher than the budgetary requirement for the base pay of active soldiers and policemen.

Due to this, Estrada said they had laid down a proposal to provide a mechanism for our government to balance and sustain financial flexibility.

He said it will also guarantee that the state will continue to provide suitable benefits and remuneration to men and women in uniform.

Estrada’s Senate Bill No. 284, which seeks to provide a unified system for separation, retirement, and pension of the those in the service was filed in July last year.

Similar bills were likewise introduced by Senators Sonny Angara and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. These measures are pending in my Committee on National Defense and Security and will be taken up when the Senate resumes its plenary work next month.

He also said a bill rationalizing the disability pension of veterans is still on the table.

“We have just concluded the period of interpellation before we went on recess two weeks ago,” Revilla said.

Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa has remained hopeful that the bill seeking to introduce a new pension system for incoming men and women in uniform will be approved in the 19th Congress.

Earlier, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno disclosed that President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is “okay” with the proposal to reform the pension system for the MUP as he warned that failure to address the ballooning cost of pensions for retirees could lead to a “fiscal collapse.”

Dela Rosa, a former polcie chief, recalled that these reforms had already been discussed during the 18th Congress but they failed to approve the measure introducing a new pension system.

He remembered that addressing the fiscal deficit had already been tackled during the time of Pres. Duterte. Macon Ramos-Araneta

Since there are already bills seeking a new pension system for MUP filed in the Senate, Dela Rosa said these should be tackled at the committee level so they can pass it immediately. He lamented that around two-thirds of the annual appropriations for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and the Bureau of Fire Protection were allocated to personnel services where the pension and gratuity fund are lodged.

He noted that the budget for the pension is really big, but it should go to capital outlay and MOOE which may improve the agencies’ performance.

He believes that the new system will not cause demoralization among the military and uniformed personnel as it will only apply to new entrants.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said this reform is “long overdue.”

“I shall await the ‘version’ of this [administration] and examine their approach to the problem,” Pimentel said.

Senator Francis Tolentino said this is a “cause for alarm”, he said the government should also look into possible reforms on other pension systems like the Social Security System. – Macon Ramos-Araneta

 

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