Teodoro wants MUP pension reform discussed in less emotional setup

By HANA BORDEY,GMA Integrated News

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said Wednesday the proposed military and uniformed personnel pension reform should be discussed in a less emotional environment as he laid down several proposals on how to address the problem.

“Ang proposal ko, let us go very deliberately on pension reform po and then when passion subside, because the atmosphere, the exchanges have been quite emotional… let us cool down passion so that we can really talk numbers in a less volatile environment and not right now where we need each and every one to be at the top of his or her game. 'Yun po ang pakiusap (That is the appeal),” Teodoro said during a Commission on Appointments (CA) hearing on his appointment.

Recognizing the need for fiscal prudence, Teodoro suggested the absolute dissolution of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Retirement and Separation Benefits System (RSBS) through law and transfer its remaining assets to the AFP retirement trust fund, realign the shares of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) for modernization to the said trust fund, and source the seed capital for the retirement trust fund from the land properties of the AFP and the DND.

“Ang benepisyo po nito ay may separate trust fund na pwedeng pagkunan ng pondo para po sa retirement po nila na hindi na po subject to the financial position totally of the government sa regular GAA (General Appropriations Act),” he explained.

(The benefit is that there will be a separate trust fund which could be a source of fund for their retirement which is not subject to the financial position totally of the government in the regular GAA.)

Right now, the Defense chief said the AFP retirees are satisfied with the proposals pending before the House of Representatives.

"Sa ngayon po lagay na po ang loob nila kasi nakinig po ang Kongreso at alam po nila ang suporta ng House," he said.


(As of now, they are satisfied because Congress listens to them and they know that the House supports them.)

But for the active personnel, Teodoro warned that they might be recruited by the private sector should their retirement is not secure.

“Ang current pensioners po natin ay 138,000 lamang at hindi na tataas po ito dahil ang AFP hindi na po lalaki hindi katulad ng kapulisan at ibang services na may ratio…[per] population…On the other hand po, we will be entrusting them with more and more responsibilities and more and more secure capabilities and more expensive capabilities. So kung hindi po natin i-secure din ang retirement nila, ready, willing, and able po ang private sector na kunin sila sa special skills na kanila pong nalalaman,” he added.

(Our current pensioners are 138,000 only and this number will not rise, unlike in the police force and other services where there is a ratio [per population]... So if we will not secure their retirement, the private sector is ready, willing, and able to take them in for their special skills.)

Meanwhile, Teodoro said he has no objection to proposals mandating new entrants to pay contributions but if Congress will decide otherwise, it will be “a great help for the soldiers’ morale and welfare.”

“Those are the practical arguments po. I will not go into the sentimental arguments which everybody knows already particularly those of them who have seen their comrades fall, those are highly charged emotional environments,” he said.

The latest version of the bill on MUP pension reform at the House of Representatives no longer includes the provision on mandatory contribution, except for new entrants. —AOL/KG, GMA Integrated News