Tackle next steps in MUPs pension reform – Estrada

(BUSINESS MIRROR) SENATOR Jose Pimentel Ejercito Jr. is prodding the economic team of President Marcos and the Department of National Defense (DND) to discuss at length the next steps in reforming the pension system for military and uniformed personnel (MUP) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), now the subject of several bills in Congress and described as the “bloodiest” measure on the agenda of their Second Regular Session.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada made the call on learning that the AFP wants to have its own pension system, following a push by the economic team to set a formula whereby active-duty MUPs will now have to contribute to a fund for their pensions.

The economic managers warned that failing to do this will inevitably lead to a fiscal crisis as taxpayers can no longer sustain the present setup of shouldering via the national budget the payouts for retired MUPs.

Earlier, Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. laid out a report that the AFP prefers to have their own pension system and plan to propose tapping funding sources from the sale or rental of AFP realty assets.

Should it be adopted, its proponents said there would be enough funds and no need to deduct such from soldiers’ monthly salaries.

The latter is part of the proposal cited by the economic team during a meeting of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, which is chaired by Estrada. The proposal particularly eyes deducting from the salaries of AFP personnel, as well as those still active in uniformed services, including soldiers, policemen, jail guards and firemen.

As committee chairman, Estrada assured that the panel members will study all proposals forwarded by the DND and the economic team, especially in case there are oppositors to their respective proposals.