REFORMS on military and uniformed personnel’ (MUP) pension will happen soon, as President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has approved it in a bid to prevent possible “fiscal collapse.”

In a press conference on Monday, March 28, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said among the proposed reforms were the removal of automatic indexation of pension to the salary of active personnel of similar ranks; pension will be received by MUP personnel at the age of 57 instead of 56, which is the mandatory retirement age; and mandatory contributions will be required for active personnel and new entrants, similar to the pension fund for government employees, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

He said the new policy will cover all active personnel and new entrants, which means mandatory contributions will begin with those currently or about to enter service.

MUP refers to personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Fire Protection, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Public Safety College, Bureau of Corrections, and Philippine National Police.

At present, MUP pensions are being funded by the national government through annual appropriation with the retirees not paying any contribution.

Diokno said the pension being received by a military pensioner is nine times higher than the average pension of a pensioner under the Social Security System (SSS), and three times higher than the average pension under the GSIS.

“So pension can be received after 20 years of service with no minimum pensionable age. Some of them get recruited at the age of 20, so they can already retire at the age of 40, and you know how long their lives are. Military people live longer than us, some at the age of 90. So they retire at 40, they get their pension up to age 90, isn’t that ridiculous?” he said.

“If this goes on, there will be a fiscal collapse,” he added.

Diokno said he thinks Marcos is in the best position to push through with the reform being the first president elected by a significant majority of Filipinos and that he has a very strong control of both houses of Congress, which will make him less problematic to push forward such a major reform.

“As I mentioned, his predecessors simply kick the can forward, right, without success. Why did I say that? Remember that he’s I think the first president who was elected by a significant majority, right, 60 percent. Iyong ibang president, they were only elected by 25 percent because of the number of candidates,” Diokno said.

“So, he really has this very strong support and he’s willing to spend his political capital for this because nakikita niya na kapag hindi niya ginawa ito there will be fiscal collapse in the future,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)