Lawmakers propose ‘win-win’ solution to MUP pension issue
MANILA, Philippines — The House ways and means committee is keen on approving a “win-win” solution for the pension woes of military and uniformed personnel (MUP) so that legislators can move on to finding funds for the country’s “credible defense posture” in the West Philippine Sea.
This “win-win” solution was agreed upon by lawmakers and the country’s economic managers in a meeting on Aug. 2, said Rep. Joey Salceda, the committee chair.
Salceda is chair of the ad hoc committee that will tackle 12 House bills proposing to reform the MUP pension system on Tuesday morning.
On Monday, he stressed the need to resolve the MUP pension system’s “fiscal defects” so that Congress “can move forward with devoting more of the national budget to credibly defending the country’s territory, especially in the West Philippine Sea.”
“Our expenditures are growing for defense, even as our MUP pension liabilities also grow. That is untenable. We have a solution that inflicts the least pain possible on all stakeholders,” Salceda said.
He pointed out the urgency of solving MUP pension woes as there are “real geopolitical risks to address” such as the military’s modernization program to beef up its defense posture. “Although our attitude is to solve these risks diplomatically, diplomacy is hollow without credible defense capabilities … So, we need to solve the MUP pension system issues so we can keep investing in a formidable national defense,” Salceda said.
He said the government’s economic managers met with the House leadership earlier this month and agreed on the “win-win” solution proposed by lawmakers.
He called this the “three guarantees” version — a guaranteed pension hike, a guaranteed salary hike, and a guaranteed funding source.
The proposal included a 3 percent annual salary increase for active MUPs and the retention of other retirement benefits currently enjoyed by MUP pensioners.