The government wants to reform the pension system for military and uniformed personnel (MUP) to avert a fiscal crisis. — PHILIPPINE STAR/EDD GUMBAN

A SENATE bill seeking to overhaul retirement benefits for military and uniformed personnel (MUP) has been approved by four of the chamber’s committees.

On Thursday, the Senate Committees on National Defense and Security, Unification and Reconciliation; Government Corporations and Public Enterprises; Ways and Means; and Finance released their committee report on Senate Bill No. 2501, which seeks to set monthly retirement pay at 50% of the base pay for the last position held by retired MUPs.

Under the bill, retirees may choose to receive benefits in lump sum or directly through an accrual method.

New MUPs will be required to contribute to the new pension fund system.

Members of the military will be required to contribute 7% of their base monthly salary, with the National Government contributing 14%, according to a copy of the measure dated as filed on Nov. 29.

The contribution scheme for other uniformed personnel is 9% of salary and a government top-up of 12%.

The current system does not require MUPs to contribute to their pension fund, which are funded entirely by the National Government.

The measure, if passed, would permit a guaranteed 3% annual increase in the base pay of active personnel and in the pension benefits of retirees for the next 10 years.

In September, the House of Representatives approved its version of the bill on third and final reading. House Bill No. 8969 or the proposed Military Uniformed Personnel Pension System Act, also requires new entrants to contribute to their pension fund, at a rate of 9% of monthly salary with a 12% government top-up.

The measure is on the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council’s list of priority bills.

The measure authorizes the President to adjust the pension and survivorship benefits “due to adverse fiscal or economic conditions,” as determined by the Development Budget Coordination Committee. — John Victor D. Ordoñez