MANILA -The Armed Forces of the Philippines is overhauling its pension system, aimed at averting a crisis in which it may no longer be capable of paying billions of pesos in retirement benefits to its former members.
Under the proposed new retirement plan, the retirement age will be raised from 56 to 58, members’ contributions and the government’s counterpart in the pension fund will be increased, no promotion to the next higher rank will be given upon retirement, and computations for periodic adjustments of separation and retirement benefits will be made, as well as deactivation of the AFP Retirement and Separation Benefits System.
Brig. Gen. Honorato de los Reyes, Armed Forces deputy chief of staff for Personnel, however, clarified that the current retirement law for AFP members is still in effect and remains unchanged.
“The present active military personnel and those who have retired under PD 1638 and Republic Act 340 will still be covered by our current retirement law, and the retirement law in effect during their retirement in the service”, de los Reyes stressed.
The AFP has about 150,000 members, either serving in the Army, Air Force and Navy.
De los Reyes who had once served as commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade in Negros Occidental, said only the new entrants to the AFP will be covered by the proposed changes in the current retirement system, if it will be enacted into a law.
Before the draft proposal can be enacted into law, he said it will require a very long and tedious legislative process of sponsorship and filing of bills at both houses of Congress and will undergo series of deliberations and hearings.
De los Reyes added that the new retirement and benefits system is a product of a Technical Working Group spearheading the ongoing study.
This new proposal will make the retirement system more effective and sustainable for the AFP, he also said.
Without the reforms, retired Rear Admiral Emilio Marayag, RSBS chairman, said the annual pension requirements for soldiers alone would reach P1 trillion by 2040.
AFP chief General Eduardo Oban has ordered a widest dissemination on the proposed retirement system to make sure that soldiers and their respective families are aware of it, by utilizing all available means of communication.*GPB