Erratum: With corrections on the 8th paragraph.
In an effort to gather more stakeholder perspectives on the proposed reforms to the pension system of Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP), the government’s economic team held consultations with the Philippine Navy on Thursday, June 8, 2023, at the Social Hall of the Officer’s Clubhouse in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig.
Six hundred participants attended the event live, with online attendees coming from as far as the Kalayaan Group of Islands attending via Zoom.
The economic team was comprised of key officials from the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr). Representatives from the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO), Department of National Defense (DND), and the Office of Senator and Defense Committee Chairperson Jinggoy Estrada attended as well.
Consultations were held with officers from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force, and Philippine Navy earlier this month.
DOF Undersecretary Maria Cielo D. Magno presented the proposed reforms to the Philippine Navy. Consistent with earlier talks, she emphasized that gathering the suggestions and sentiments of all stakeholders would be of great help in creating a reform that is both inclusive and financially sound.
One of the key pieces in the reform is the proposal for the joint contribution between the MUPs and the government to sustain the pension fund. Various schemes were also put in place to take into account the different financial situations of the pensioners.
DOF Undersecretary Maria Luwalhati C. Dorotan Tiuseco said that this would help create fiscal space for additional programs for the benefit of both retired MUPs and active personnel.
“One of our goals is to make the pension fund sustainable to be able to make fiscal space for additional government support programs tulad ng housing, and better health and medical programs,” she said.
GSIS TO MANAGE FUNDS ONLY, AND ENSURE NO CO-MINGLING
The role of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) was also discussed. The economic team stressed that while the GSIS will manage the fund, the MUP’s pension will remain strictly independent from the pension of civilian government workers.
“Napaganda po ng track record nila [the GSIS]. Ang mission po ng GSIS ay papalaguin nila ang pondo ng fund. Pero hindi po kayo magiging GSIS pensionare, MUP pensionare pa rin po kayo,” Undersecretary Tiuseco explained.
Participants also asked if there would be any co-mingling of funds. Deputy Treasurer Erwin D. Sta. Ana assured the audience that there would be no co-mingling.
“Ang pinag-usapan ng economic team ay dapat po may sariling accounting per MUP. That there will be an accounting standard that will be employed just to make sure that there is proper recording of all these funds,” Deputy Treasurer Sta. Ana said.
As an additional feature to better manage the pension fund, representatives from the military and uniformed services will also be included in the oversight committee.
The Navy thanked the economic team for shedding light on the proposals. In his closing remarks, acting Chief of Naval Staff Commodore Alfonspin Tumanda Jr said that the activity “helps us to improve what we know, and as a result, help make better decisions in future situations, while also collaborating to achieve a common goal.”
“Therefore I am confident that the agreed upon amendments will improve the overall well-being of our military and uniformed personnel,” Commodore Tumanda added.
The economic team will continue its series of consultations with MUPs around the country. The next round of talks will be with the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Army on Friday, June 9, 2023.