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Sotto bats for early retirement incentive to ‘rightsize’ gov't workforce

Government employees must be offered early retirement incentives to allow the state to cut its expenses on personnel services and allocate the budget to other priority initiatives, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Wednesday.

"Dapat talaga sa atin, ang gobyerno natin because nga napakalaki, bloated kung tutuusin with due respect to our employees, dapat mag-programa ang gobyerno ng early retirement program," he said in a virtual Kapihan Sa Manila Bay.

"Magbigay ng early retirement program na magbibigay ng malaking amount doon sa mga magre-retire nang maaga. Let’s say retirement benefits of about P300,000," he added.

Under the existing Republic Act 8291, a government employee may be entitled to retirement benefits if he has rendered at least 15 years of service, or is at least 60 years of age at the time of retirement.

Sotto underscored that around 65% of the annual budget of the government goes to personnel services.

By pushing for this perk—which he said was part of the government rightsizing bill pending in the Senate—he stressed that the government could save at least a trillion pesos for every year of implementation.

To fund the early retirement incentives, Sotto said there was a suggestion for the government to avail of loans.

Nonetheless, Sotto said the most essential members of the government workforce such as teachers, health workers, and soldiers will be encouraged to render their services longer by offering them salary increase and other incentives.

During the fourth State of the Nation Address of Duterte, he called on lawmakers to pass a long-pending measure to rightsize the national government. —LDF, GMA News