The old pension system for men in uniform should be improved to ensure the country’s fiscal stability, Senator Christopher Bong Go said on October 12, 2020.
In a manifestation, Go pushed for the passage of Senate Bill No. 1419, a measure which aims to maintain financial flexibility on the part of the government, while the state will “continue to provide adequate benefits and remuneration to the men and women in uniform.”
Go cited the vital tasks of military forces and uniformed personnel to ensure the country’s peace and security.
“Even the Constitution recognizes the invaluable role of the military and our uniformed personnel in protecting the nation and its citizens from threats, both within and outside the country’s borders,” he said.
Go said there is a need to reform the system in providing benefits for the military and uniformed personnel which is “necessary to achieve a balance between the governmental interest and the mandate to ensure the provision of adequate remuneration and benefits to them”.
If the old pension system remains, Go said there is a possibility that “ballooning budget burden where the total cost of the pensions of retired soldiers will exceed the compensation of those in active service”.
Go said while military personnel should be given what is due to them, there is a need to ensure the country’s fiscal stability.
Meanwhile, Go proposed a new pension system which he branded as a “win-win” solution.
He said Senate Bill No. 1419 will only apply to new entrants or those who will enter active service after the effectivity of the proposed law.
Those who are “active in service” will still get what they expect to get, he said.
Go said the full effects of the pension reform bill, if passed, will be seen after 35 years when the new entrants file for their retirements.
He added that the measure could benefit the entire military force and the country itself in the “long run.”
Go explained that the reform is needed to stabilize the country’s fiscal position.
He noted that the country might face significant fiscal problems in the future if the old pension system continues.
“This will be a problem not just for the retirees, but also for our future financial managers, the entire military service, and the country as a whole,” he said.
Go said the better time to pass the pension reform bill is while President Rodrigo Duterte is still in office.
He said both finance and budget departments have already backed the proposed pension reform bill.
Go urged his fellow legislators to listen to soldiers, the retirees, the future soldiers, and everyone else who will be affected by the measure.
“The President and I will support the will of the majority. We will listen, as we always have. Bukas po ang aming opisina sa lahat ng gusto magsalita (Our office is open for those who wish to speak),” he said.
During a Senate public hearing conducted by the finance committee on national defense, Go questioned the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) about the modernization program of Horizon One.
AFP chief of staff, Lt. Gen. General Gilbert Gapay, said the program, composed of the modernization of equipment, has already been completed.
Security forces are still finishing some projects on “bases developments” including some projects on Doctrines Development and Human Resources Development, Gapay said.
“Although very minimal ‘yung funding requirements nito, and it is included there, in the number of projects ongoing under the Horizon One,” he added. (PNA)