Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez on Tuesday expressed dismay over the Department of Finance’s (DOF) supposed plan to terminate the indexation of military and uniformed personnel (MUPs) in the face of rising pension costs.
For his part, Senator Christopher Go maintained that he is open to reforms to the pension system for the country’s military personnel, but only if they will not adversely affect the benefits due to active and retired members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police, as well as other uniformed personnel.
“It’s illegal, immoral, and cowardly for the government to alter the terms of the agreement after they gave their service to, and bled for, the country. Parang na-estafa sila niyan pag gawin yan ng gobyerno. Mali talaga,” Alvarez said in a statement.
Congress during the Duterte presidency, passed a joint resolution increasing the salaries of MUPs. The move was endorsed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Alvarez, who was the Speaker during the past administration, challenged the government to prioritize the welfare of the MUPs amid the rising cost of their pensions.
“The government should not turn its back on the soldiers who have dedicated their best years in protecting the nation’s freedom and institutions,” Alvarez stated.
He also asked the DOF to find a solution that honors our sacred contract with the country’s soldiers. “How about getting rid of parasites in the government who don’t even know how to say a simple thank you to our servicemen and women?”
Alvarez also proposed that, in a worst-case scenario, the existing batches of MUPs in the retired and active service should remain under the present system.
“There must be no changes to the pension of those with whom the government already had an agreement with,” Alvarez said.
He acknowledged the years that these active and retired policemen and soldiers had sacrificed to serve and protect the country.
As reported earlier, the current administration is looking into the possibility of reevaluating the pension system.
It took into consideration the concern that the budget for said pensions will inevitably exceed the compensation of those in active service.
“As a senator and vice-chair of Defense Committee of the Senate, I want to give our heroes what is due to them. But we also have to ensure the fiscal stability of our nation,” Go said.
The senator reiterated that there was a need to balance the welfare of the military and other uniformed personnel, and their dependents, while resolving possible adverse financial impact based on the current projections.
“Let us maintain fiscal flexibility and provide adequate benefits and remuneration to our men and women in uniform,” said Go, vice chairperson of the Senate defense committee,
He added that it would be unfair for active and retired military personnel to be covered by the proposed pension reform given that the existing rules have been their basis for computing their benefits after they have served the country.
He stressed that during former president Rodrigo Duterte’s term, they doubled the salary of the military and did not want the existing pension to be affected.
Go expressed strong opposition to the proposal to require active soldiers to pay their mandatory contributions to the pension fund of the military.
Highlighting their crucial role in protecting the country, Go also underscored the need for the government to provide better benefits and support to the military and police so they would be able to live a more dignified and comfortable life after their service to the country.