Go Senator Bong Go: “Nais ko klaruhin — suportado ko ang pension reform para maiwasan na maging isang financial disaster ito in the long-run. Pero ayoko na bawasan o maapektuhan ang kasalukuyang pension ng mga nag-retiro na o ‘yung inaasahang pension ng mga naka active duty pa.”

Bong Go pushes win-win solution to MUP pension reform

June 21, 2021 People's Tonight 1044 views

TO ensure fiscal stability and welfare of military and other uniformed personnel, MUP pension reform must only affect new entrants and not those already in active service, with no decrease in pension for those who are already retired and those who are still about to retire in active duty.

This was stressed by Senator Christopher “Bong” Go as he remains firm that there is a need to balance the welfare of military and other uniformed personnel, and their dependents, while addressing the possible adverse financial impact of the military pension system based on current projections.

“Mahal namin ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang mga sundalo. Gagawin namin lahat para maproteksyunan sila. Kaya natin sinusubukang masolusyunan ito ngayon dahil ayaw naming madehado ang ating kasundaluhan kung magiging iba ang direksyon ng mga susunod na administrasyon pagdating sa pension reform,” he said.

“Kung hindi natin ma-cure ang problemang ito ngayon, baka mas lumala pa ang sitwasyon at kawawa hindi lang ang pensioners kundi ang taumbayan. Long-term po ang solusyon na gusto namin ni Pangulong Duterte dito,” Go explained.

Go’s version of the proposed pension reform law for military and other uniformed personnel, as indicated in Senate Bill 1419 which he filed in 2020, seeks to attain fiscal stability and sustainability of their pension system without prejudice to current pensioners and those in active service.

“Nais ko klaruhin — suportado ko ang pension reform para maiwasan na maging isang financial disaster ito in the long-run. Pero ayoko na bawasan o maapektuhan ang kasalukuyang pension ng mga nag-retiro na o ‘yung inaasahang pension ng mga naka active duty pa,” he emphasized.

“’Yung reporma sa pension, magsimula dapat sa bagong pasok na sundalo para alam nila na may pagbabago sa pension bago pa sila magduty. Huwag natin galawin ‘yung inaasahan or natatanggap na pension ng kasalukuyang sundalo,” he added.

In his 2017 budget message, President Rodrigo Duterte said that the pension reform should be pursued “in view of the ballooning budget burden where the total cost of the pensions of retired soldiers will exceed the compensation of those in active service.”

Around P800 billion is needed annually for the next 20 years to pay the pension of the military and uniformed personnel (MUP), according to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), based on the existing scheme.

In line with this, Go emphasized that his proposed measure aims to only affect new entrants and not those in active service or those who have already retired.

“Suportado ko ang reporma na kailangan upang hindi lumobo ang kailangang bayaran pero dapat maisagawa ito sa paraang hindi mababawasan ang inaasahang matatanggap ng kasalukuyang mga sundalo at mga nagretiro na,” he added.

“Bago pa ako maging Senador, may lumapit na sa amin ni Pangulo na mga Master Sergeant noon upang ipaglaban na hindi maisama sa pension reform ang mga naka-active duty. Kaya ginawan natin ng paraan na huwag maimplementa iyon noon at mapag-aralan ng mabuti,” he shared.

Go expressed his opposition to other proposed versions of the MUP pension reform that have provisions considered detrimental to current pensioners and those in active duty.

“Hindi ‘yan lulusot sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte kung mababawasan ang kasalukuyang pension ng mga sundalo at mga nagretiro na. Ipinaglaban nga natin noon na madoble ang sahod nila bilang gantimpala sa kanilang serbisyo at pagkilala sa kanilang sakripisyo. Ako mismo ang nag-lobby nun sa mga mambabatas noong nasa ehekutibo pa ako,” he explained further.

“Hindi naman pwede na ang reporma natin upang maisaayos ang MUP pension ang siya pang babawi sa benepisyo na ipinaglaban nating matanggap ng ating mga kasundaluhan,” he added.

Amid concerns raised by various groups on the different versions of the measure, Go clarified that his version of the bill would ensure that those in service and those who already retired will not be affected by the reform and would still receive what they expected when they joined the military.

“Magsisimula ang pension reform sa mga bagong pasok para klaro sa simula pa lang kung ano ang posibleng makuha nila pagkatapos ng kanilang serbisyo,” he explained.

Go said that while there is a necessity to reform the military pension system, it should be done without compromising the expected benefits of those who are currently serving the military or those who are already receiving their pensions upon their retirement.

“Ipaglalaban namin ni Pangulo ang lahat ng sundalo at alam ko buhay nila ang nakataya habang nasa serbisyo sila. Mga bayani natin ‘yan kaya dapat nila makuha kung ano ang inaasahan nilang makuha nung sumali sila sa military. Bukod sa serbisyo nila sa bansa, may mga pamilya rin silang binubuhay,” he said.

“In 35 years pa ‘yan magiging in effect kung mapasa ang aking panukala sa panahong magreretiro na ang new entrants. Baka wala na tayo sa mundong ito. Ang importante, maisaayos ang pension system nang walang nadedehado,” he added.

The senator then stressed the urgency to enact the measure now, saying that the current administration will always uphold the welfare of its uniformed personnel.

“This is a way to address the bloating pension system and the impending financial disaster without sacrificing the interests of those who are already in active service or those who are already retired,” he said.

Go noted that there is no final version yet as the bills are still being deliberated upon in both houses of Congress. He assured that he will continue to fight for the welfare of uniformed personnel and his office will always take into consideration the concerns of those who may be affected by any proposed legislation.

“I am proposing a win-win solution. As a lawmaker, I am always ready to listen and work towards what is beneficial to the people I represent in the Senate while crafting legislation that can further protect and promote the welfare of Filipinos,” he added.

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