AFP personeel with low pay nix contributions to pension fund

(INQUIRER) MANILA, Philippines — Enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines are opposed to the Marcos administration’s plan to deduct 5 percent in pension premiums from the salaries of active military and other uniformed personnel (MUP), Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said on Monday.

The senator also disclosed at the Kapihan sa Senado forum that the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) had agreed to manage the MUP pension fund.

Estrada, chair of the Senate national defense and security committee, said the estimated 160,000 enlisted personnel of the AFP, or their lower-ranking soldiers, regarded as “quite burdensome” the plan to have them contribute 5 percent of their monthly pay to their retirement fund.

According to the lawmaker, AFP personnel expressed opposition to restructuring the MUP pension system as proposed by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno during a recent “roadshow” by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s economic team.

“The stakeholders still have several concerns, like, for example, the initial 5 percent monthly contribution rate. Some of them find it quite burdensome because it’s too high for them,” Estrada said.

‘That’s big’

He said a soldier with the rank of private only makes about P29,000 a month, while the highest-ranking enlisted personnel, the chief master sergeant in the Army and their equivalent ranks in other AFP units, receive around P38,000.

“So if you take away 5 percent, that’s big for low-ranking soldiers,” Estrada said.

“The enlisted personnel comprise the bulk of the AFP’s active force… They may not be able to shoulder the 5 percent they would have to contribute to the pension fund [if the plan for its restructuring were to be implemented],” he added.