Duterte to certify military pension reform bill as urgent

Pia Ranada
Duterte to certify military pension reform bill as urgent
President Rodrigo Duterte backs the Department of National Defense's version of the bill, which includes raising the pensionable age to 60 from 56

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will certify as urgent a bill that seeks to reform the pension system for military and uniformed personnel, Malacañang said on Thursday, February 7.

The President made the decision during the 34th Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, February 6, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said on Thursday.

“Also discussed was the Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP) Pension Reform Bill proposed by the Department of National Defense which the President said he will certify as an urgent piece of legislation,” Panelo said.

The DND version of the bill at least as of November 2018, according to an Inquirer report, had recommended a pension system setting the pensionable age to 60.

It also sets the compulsory retirement age to 60, instead of the current 56. The retiree must also have had 20 years of satisfactory active service.

This means that those who retire from the service early, or before they turn 60, will have to wait until they reach that age to get their pension.

A member of the uniformed service who retires will also receive a monthly retirement pay equivalent to 2.5% for each year of active service, but should not exceed 90% of the monthly base and longevity pay of the current salary grade.

Asked if Malacañang expects any opposition from military personnel due to the proposed changes, especially when it comes to the pensionable age, Panelo said he thinks most soldiers would welcome the proposal.

He said soldiers are likely to appreciate that they will have more years in active service as this assures their flow of income for a longer period of time.

“Fifty-six is very early retirement. In this day and age, 80 is still young, what more 56? They want to serve more, longer time,” said Panelo.

Duterte, in several past speeches, had spoken about the need to change the compulsory retirement age of soldiers, saying 56 was too young.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said at the annual general membership assembly of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association, Incorporated last year that the government was working on a pension reform bill that would “craft a new Military Pension System that is not only fair to our retirees, but also sustainable and permanent.”

Diokno had said then that the bill sought to address the “huge” problem posed by the “ballooning pension” of military and uniformed personnel. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.