MANILA - Senators on Tuesday agreed to reform the military pension system, saying the scheme has become “unsustainable” as it relies solely on annual appropriations instead of becoming a self-sustaining fund.
Under the 2020 budget, P114.7 billion was allotted for the veterans’ pension, while only P71.8 billion was earmarked for the salaries of active personnel.
“The situation has become quite unsustainable,” Senate Finance Committee chair Sonny Angara told other lawmakers while defending the executive’s budget for pension and gratuity fund.
The Senate needs to come up with a bill that would either require mandatory contribution from active soldiers, adjust the retirement age, or cut indexation, he said.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon proposed to privatize government-owned gaming firms and use the money to jump start the military’s pension fund.
The Senate also need to monitor pension leakages, including pensions given to beneficiaries who were long dead, Senator Richard Gordon said.
Angara, Gordon, and Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has agreed to co-author the bill that would amend the existing pension policy.
In February, President Rodrigo Duterte certified as urgent a bill that would reform the pension system for uniformed personnel.
Finance Sec. Carlos Dominguez earlier said Duterte approved a scheme that would place the military pension under a new Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) department.
The bill needs to be refiled under the current Congress as the legislative branch failed to pass the measure before the 17th Congress closed earlier this year.