About time for MUP to make contributions – senator

(PHILSTAR) MANILA, Philippines — “It’s about time” military and uniformed personnel (MUP) contribute to their pension fund, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said yesterday as he pushed for the passage of a bill reforming their retirement fund system before the end of the year.

In an interview with radio dwIZ, Estrada said that while most of the active MUP rejected the economic managers’ proposal for a five to nine percent pension fund contribution, they should be “professional to understand” that not making such contribution can lead to fiscal collapse.

“It’s been a long time that they are not contributing. Maybe it’s about time they contribute to the government,” said Estrada, who chairs the Senate national defense and security committee.

The MUP used to make contributions to the government through the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS), which was abolished in 2006 for not being self-sustaining, according to Estrada.

Civilian government employees contribute to the Government Service Insurance System while private sector employees get retirement benefits from their contributions to the Social Security System.

The senator vowed to ensure that a bill reforming the pension system is passed before the end of the year, to prevent government coffers from being depleted.

“They really should pay. The question is just how many percent of their salary are they willing to contribute, or who among the enlisted personnel should pay,” Estrada said.

Based on the proposal of the administration’s economic team, active personnel will contribute five percent of their monthly pay for the first three years of the reformed pension system, while new entrants will contribute nine percent.

Government has allocated a P220-billion budget for the MUP in the proposed P5.768-trillion national budget for 2024, according to Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman.

For Sen. Sonny Angara, only new entrants should be required to contribute to the pension fund.

“Definitely, it will be difficult to compel those who have served many years and sacrificed so much, just to contribute,” Angara said in an interview with reporters on Friday in Baler, Aurora, where he led the commemoration of Philippine-Spanish Friendship Day.

“At the very least, it should be the new entrants who should be contributory,” Angara, chairman of the Senate finance committee, said.