By Kathryn Mae P. Tubadeza

Gov’t currently preparing draft pension bill for uniformed personnel

Posted on July 11, 2015

A DRAFT pension bill that will help ensure all uniformed personnel receive benefit payments is currently being prepared by government agencies, President Benigno S. C. Aquino III said on Friday during the Philippine military’s change of command ceremony on Friday.

“The Department of Budget and Management, Department of Finance, Department of National Defense (DND), and Department of Interior and Local Government are all working on a draft pension bill that will lay down the measures that will ensure the funding of benefits,” Mr. Aquino said in a speech at Camp Aguinaldo where he formally named Lt. Gen. Hernando Delfin Carmelo A. Iriberri as the new AFP chief of staff, replacing Gregorio Pio P. Catapang Jr.

Proposed contents of the measure are being finalized, DND Public Affairs Service Chief Arsenio R. Andolong said in an interview.

“The proposed bill seeks to amend the existing law that provides for indexation of lifetime pension benefits based on latest salary levels. This is deemed not sustainable,” Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. said in a separate text message.

During his speech, President Aquino ordered Mr. Iriberri, who served as the 56th Commanding General of the Philippine Army since February 7, 2014, to continue what Mr. Catapang and other chief of staff have started and to ensure a peaceful and clean 2016 elections.

“This is my challenge for you: Continue what Gen. Catapang and his predecessors started and to further raise the soldiers’ standards of service,” President Aquino said. “The election is forthcoming. Your duties include ensuring that elections are clean and peaceful.”

For his part, Mr. Iriberri identified five priorities that must be addressed: the matter of winning the peace; continuation with commitment of AFP Transformation Roadmap; duty to implement national policy; preparation for the 2016 elections; and the need to upgrade capabilities.

Mr. Iriberri said in the last seven years, 58-conflict affected provinces have been declares either as “insurgency-free or peaceful and ready for further development.”

“We will not only win the peace, but we will secure the peace as well,” he said.

Mr. Iriberri holds a Masters degree in Management and Defense Studies from the University of Canberra, Australia and also a graduate of the PSYOPS Officer Course in CONUS, UN Staff Officer Course from Sweden, High Defense Course from Spain and other local military career courses.