A committee at the House of Representatives on Thursday recommended for plenary approval a bill granting equal rights, benefits, and privileges to pensioners.
This came after the House special committee on senior citizens during a meeting Thursday approved House Bill 9773 or the proposed Pensioners’ Equal Benefits Act, authored by Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas, who welcomed the committee action on his bill.
Vargas said pensioners, who had been deprived of benefits which should have been accrued to them, shall be granted with these privileges. This includes the pensioners under Republic Act 7699 who were denied annual Christmas cash gifts and the right to get pension increase.
“This bill seeks to correct the discrimination and to right the diminution of the pensioners’ benefits, especially that RA 7699 expressly prohibits any diminution,” Vargas, brother of congressional candidate Patrick Michael Vargas for Quezon City’s fifth district, said.
HB 9773 grants pensioners under RA 7699, the annual cash gift, and the right to get increase in pension.
The committee approved the bill despite the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS)’s concerns over the measure.
GSIS also expressed reservations on the bill as the cash gift “is not really part of the benefits granted under Republic Act 8291,” it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Departments of Budget and Management and Finance will submit position papers on the matter to the House panel.