Jinggoy: Proposed 5% monthly contribution of MUPs to pension fund ‘worrisome’

(MALAYA) SEN. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada yesterday said the proposed five percent monthly contribution of active military and uniformed personnel (MUPs) to fund their pension is worrisome and maybe a big burden to them.

Speaking before the Kapihan sa Senado media forum, Estrada, chairman of the Committee on National Defense, said mandating active MUPs to contribute five percent of their monthly salary for their retirement funds for the first three years of the planned pension reform system will have an adverse effect, especially on more than 163,000 enlisted personnel.

The five percent monthly contribution was recommended by economic managers to prevent a fiscal collapse of the MUP pension system since the government shoulders all of it, unlike other government employees who contribute to their pension funds.

Economic managers also proposed that new entrants should contribute nine percent of their monthly salary to the pension funds.

The committee has forwarded the outcome of the hearings to a technical working group (TWG) to come out with its recommendations for the proposed overhaul of the MUP pension system.

“There are still lots of concerns from various stakeholders, especially to low-ranking personnel. There are around 163,000 enlisted personnel and they might not afford the five percent monthly contribution,” Estrada said.

He said MUPs used to contribute to the Retirement and Separation Benefits System (RSBS) that was abolished during the Aquino administration in 2016 due to mismanagement.

He said lowering the monthly contribution will also have an effect on the pension funds since the government may not meet its target amount.

Estrada said the government can instead sell or lease the properties of the now-defunct RSBS to add to the pension funds.

“I recommend to the economic managers since marami namang properties ang RSBS (RSBS has a lot of  properties), they can sell them…There are a lot of properties that are owned by RSBS that can be leased,” he said, adding the 9 percent monthly contributions to be imposed on new entrants can be feasible.

He said he can call for another hearing if needed since he is not rushing the passage of the proposed measure.

“My target is before the year ends, we can come up with a new law for it,” Estrada said.

He said “many are willing to contribute” but have developed mistrust with the Government Service Insurance System, which has been recommended to manage MUP pension funds, for fear of funds mismanagement just like what happened to the RSBS.