By Chino Leyco
Following the delayed implementation of the general appropriations act, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the national government has finally disbursed the funds for the pension of retired military and uniformed personnel (MUP).
In a statement, the budget department said it has disbursed P54.23 billion for retired personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-General Headquarters (AFP-GHQ), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
In particular, the DBM released P29.9 billion to the AFP-GHQ, P21.7 billion to the PNP, P1.9 billion to the BFP, and around P731 million to the BJMP.
The department, however said that it has yet to release the pension budget for the uniformed personnel of the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority, pending the latter’s “submission of the required Special Budget Request to the DBM.”
“The recently released amounts already include the adjustment of the pension of the retired MUPs as indexed to the base pay scale of MUP in the active service covering the period June to December 2019 based on the available funds as certified by the Bureau of the Treasury,” DBM said.
The increase in pension of retired MUPs was suspended by Congress in 2018 amid plans of the Duterte administration to change the current “unsuitable” military pension system.
“This suspension shall be automatically lifted on January 1, 2019,” DBM said.
Under the present military pension, the monthly benefits of retired MUPs are automatically indexed or adjusted to the prevailing salary of incumbent personnel of similar rank. Uniformed personnel are also not required to pay any contribution to the pension fund.
For this reason, DBM said the taxpayers are currently required to shell out P90 billion annually to cover the yearly military pension benefits.
To address the ballooning funding requirements, the Duterte administration proposes a new military pension scheme which, once passed into law, would require incumbent MUPs to payment monthly contribution to a pension fund. However, this proposal remains pending in Congress.
In June last year, President Duterte tasked his economic managers to resolve quickly the ballooning and unsustainable pension of the military and the police.
According to Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, one of the recommendations is to assign the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) as fund manager of the military and the police pension.