By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Sen. Panfilo Lacson is urging his colleagues to consider raising also the pension for military retirees and other uniformed personnel in the government.
This, as the Senate committee on national defense and security passed on Wednesday the joint resolution authorizing the increase of the base pay of these government employees starting next year.
Lacson said he will ask national defense committee chair Sen. Gregorio Honasan to consider including pensioners in the hike proposal by lifting the suspension of indexation.
At the panel’s hearing, Department of Budget and Management officials said the government would need P38 billion to provide increased pension for at least 200,000 military and MUP retirees.
Lacson said the amount is “doable,” noting that there is at least P35.9 billion of unappropriated funds from various agencies in the proposed 2018 national budget.
“Marami talagang pondo kung pondo lang ang paguusapan. Ang tanong lang is willing ba ang Malacañang to include the retired sector (There are available funds in so far as funds are concerned. The only question is if Malacañang would be willing to include the retired sector),” Lacson said.
“My position is they should also reap the benefits of this law as passed,” he added.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who was also in the committee hearing, supported Lacson’s call, saying the pension hike would also benefit widows and families of slain soldiers.
“I’m appealing to Sen. Honasan kung pwede i-adopt ang kasama ang pensioners then bahala na kung ma-adopt sa bicam or kung adopt sa bicam, bahala na kung veto ng president, at least we tried,” Lacson said.
The resolution, if passed this month, would almost double the base salaries of all military personnel under the Department of National Defense and uniformed personnel under the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine Coast Guard, and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority starting January 2018.
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