Department of National Defense (DND) on Thursday expressed it thanks to the House of Representatives for hearing its concerns after lawmakers approved on second reading the proposed Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP) Pension System Act on September 20.
“The DND would like to thank House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Majority Leader Manuel Jose M. Dalipe, Ad Hoc Committee on Military and Uniformed Personnel Pension System chairperson, Congressman Joey Salceda for showing their care for our soldiers and taking steps in ensuring their welfare after they leave the military service,” DND said in a statement.
The DND added this development will allow military personnel to focus on their mission in securing the country’s territorial integrity and sovereign rights, while at the same time, ensuring the gains against terrorism and internal security are preserved.
“This is not an easy task. Our soldiers, who continue to be mentored by retirees and veterans, need to exert extra efforts to accomplish an evolving mission. We are once again grateful to the House of Representatives for listening to the concerns of the defense sector,” it added.
Salceda earlier thanked the MUP agencies for their steadfast support during the plenary deliberations and for agreeing with the Committee and the economic managers on the need to move forward for fiscal improvements to the system.
“There is no longer any debate between the MUP agencies and the economic managers that we need this reform. There is also no debate that the military and uniformed personnel deserve some degree of retirement protection from the state they protect. This consensus bill hurdled the House because it is fiscally, politically, and morally acceptable,” he stressed.
With this development, Salceda said the work of the Ad Hoc Committee officially ends.
“The ball is now in the Senate’s court, and my counterpart, Senator Jinggoy [Estrada]has also insisted on the need for a reform. That is a welcome shift in direction compared to the past Congress,” he added.
“We have also accommodated the request of the Secretary of National Defense [Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr.] and he is now more or less satisfied. I trust that the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] will be true to its word in contributing assets to the AFP Pension Trust Fund. I especially look forward to having the assets of the RSBS [Retirement and Separation Benefits System] infused right away,” he added.
The key provisions, including the amendments accepted on the floor, are:
1. Full indexation, with a provision for adjustment during adverse fiscal conditions
2. A guaranteed salary increase of 3 percent per annum over 10 years, which is already a sacrifice willingly made by the MUPs given the historical salary rate increase of 12 percent
3. The creation of two trust funds, one for the AFP, which will infuse at least P44 billion in assets to the fund, and another for uniformed services
4. Uniform retirement benefits for total permanent disability
5. Provisions for assistance for indigent military retirees
6. A mandatory contribution of 9 percent of salaries for new entrants, with a larger government counterpart of 12 percent, and retirement of new entrants at rank last held.
For active and retired personnel, the structure of the pension system was preserved in full.