Military pension reform must only affect new entrants – Go

(The Philippine Star) - June 22, 2021 - 12:00am

Sen. Bong Go remains firm that there is a need to balance the welfare of military and other uniformed personnel and their dependents, while addressing the possible adverse financial impact of the military pension system based on current projections.

“Mahal namin ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang mga sundalo. Gagawin namin lahat para maproteksyunan sila. Kaya natin sinusubukang masolusyunan ito ngayon dahil ayaw naming madehado ang ating kasundaluhan kung magiging iba ang direksyon ng mga susunod na administrasyon pagdating sa pension reform,” he said.

“Kung hindi natin ma-cure ang problemang ito ngayon, baka mas lumala pa ang sitwasyon at kawawa hindi lang ang pensioners kundi ang taumbayan. Long-term po ang solusyon na gusto namin ni Pangulong Duterte dito,” Go explained.

Go’s version of the proposed pension reform law for military and other uniformed personnel, as indicated in Senate Bill No. 1419 which he filed in 2020, seeks to attain fiscal stability and sustainability of their pension system without prejudice to current pensioners and those in active service.

“Nais ko klaruhin — suportado ko ang pension reform para maiwasan na maging isang financial disaster ito in the long-run. Pero ayoko na bawasan o maapektuhan ang kasalukuyang pension ng mga nag-retiro na o ‘yung inaasahang pension ng mga naka active duty pa,” he emphasized.

“’Yung reporma sa pension, magsimula dapat sa bagong pasok na sundalo para alam nila na may pagbabago sa pension bago pa sila mag duty. Huwag natin galawin ‘yung inaasahan or natatanggap na pension ng kasalukuyang sundalo,” he added.

In his 2017 budget message, President Duterte said that the pension reform should be pursued “in view of the ballooning budget burden where the total cost of the pensions of retired soldiers will exceed the compensation of those in active service.”

Around P800 billion is needed annually for the next 20 years to pay the pension of the military and uniformed personnel, according to the Government Service Insurance System, based on the existing scheme.

In line with this, Go emphasized that his proposed measure aims to only affect new entrants and not those in active service or those who have already retired.

Go said that while there is a necessity to reform the military pension system, it should be done without compromising the expected benefits of those who are currently serving the military or those already receiving their pensions upon their retirement.

The senator then stressed the urgency to enact the measure now, saying that the current administration will always uphold the welfare of its uniformed personnel.

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