In his sixth and final State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress on Monday to enact a bill creating a single system for the separation, retirement, and pension of military and uniformed service employees in order to reform the country’s bloated pension system.
“I am asking Congress to pass a unified system of separation, retirement and pension of military and uniformed personnel to maintain government fiscal flexibility and provide adequate benefits and remuneration to our men and women in uniform,” Duterte said.
Only new entrants will be affected by the MUP pension reform.
The House version of the bill recommends that the MUP pension system be kept, but that salary hikes for MUP employees be limited to a 5% yearly increase for the next ten years.
The current program allows employees to retire early after 20 years of service, even before reaching the obligatory retirement age of 56.
In addition, MUP retirees’ monthly pensions are automatically linked to the income of the next-in-rank active service member.
The Senate version, on the other hand, rejects indexation for new entrants, recommends that retirees keep their same rank, and mandates contribution.
Duterte also urged Congress to enact a bill that would provide free legal assistance to any officer or enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“It is also high time for us to pass a law providing free legal assistance to AFP and PNP officers enlisted personnel to help them from charges arising from incidence related to the performance of official duty,” he said.
He thanked the legislature for collaborating with the executive branch to enhance the country’s police and military institutions through the modernization program, as well as for raising the pay of cops and soldiers.
“I thank Congress for working with the executive department in enhancing capabilities of the AFP and PNP through our modernization program,” he said.
“In 2018, we raised the salaries of our military and uniformed policemen and personnel to a level commensurate to the critical role they play in upholding national security and maintaining order.”