Pimentel appeals for adjustment in GSIS rule on pension eligibility
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel on Sunday called for a change in the policy for availing pensions by retired local officials and their staff who did not meet the 15-year minimum service requirement of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
Pimentel highlighted the disparity between the minimum requirement and the term limits of elected officials, as he revealed that many temporary and co-terminus government officials and employees retire without a pension program due to the 15-year minimum service requirement of the social insurance institution.
“I appeal for our local officials and their staff who have served nine years in government but cannot qualify for the pension program due to the 15-year minimum service requirement under Republic Act 8291,” he said.
“I am saddened to learn that there are so many elected officials and public servants holding temporary and co-terminus status on the national and local levels who would retire without a retirement fund and pension only because they have not met the 15-year minimum service requirement,” he added.
Section 13-A of RA 8291 states that a member who retires from government service shall be entitled to retirement benefits provided that he has rendered at least 15 years of service.
“That provision of RA 8291 is very unfair for government employees and elected officials who fall short of the minimum 15-year service required under the law,” he said.
Pimentel pointed out that the 1987 Constitution provides that local officials such as councilors, mayors, vice-mayors, governors, vice-governors, and congressmen may only be elected for three consecutive terms or a total of nine years.
On the other hand, senators are elected nationwide by qualified voters to a six-year term and can serve for not more than two consecutive terms or a total of 12 years, while the President and the Vice President have a term of six years with no provision for reelection.
“Kawawa itong mga empleyado na walang matatanggap na (I feel bad for these employees who will not receive) pension. Is that how the government rewards them for their service?” Pimentel asked.
“We should make public service an attractive career for those individuals, especially the youth who want to be involved in legislation and nation-building,” he also said.
Pimentel then expressed his willingness to sponsor a law should the GSIS need a legal basis to enable such a proposal.
“I hope the GSIS can look into it and find possible ways to implement that option for local public servants,” he said.
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