House approves MUP pension bill on final reading
MANILA, Philippines — House Bill (HB) No. 8969 — the proposed Military and Uniformed Personnel Pension System Act — was approved early Tuesday morning on its third and final reading.
A total of 272 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill with only four voted against and one abstaining.
The bill, which seeks to resolve issues with the MUP pension system, was considered on its final reading despite opposition from minority lawmakers who questioned whether there was a quorum on the plenary floor.
The session extended late Monday night and eventually up to early Tuesday morning after the House members debated on the proposed 2024 budget of different government agencies.
Before it was passed on second reading last Sept. 19, the bill was amended to place mandatory contributions only on new entrants, who will then be mandated to provide 9 percent of their monthly salaries as a contribution to the pension fund, while the government will shoulder the remaining 12 percent.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. initially tasked House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda with finding a solution to the MUP pension mess after concerns were raised last May 2023 by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who said that it might be depleted in just five to six years.
At first, there were calls for MUPs to contribute to the pension fund, but several senators warned that this might lead to the early retirement of officials.
With the present bill, the pension of active MUPs would be generated from other funding sources.
Originally, the bill proposed a phased-in method, which means there would be a gradual increase in the current MUPs’ contribution from their salaries — that is, 5 percent for the first three years, 7 percent for the next three years, and 9 percent thereafter.
The 3-percent salary increase cap remains part of the bill, however.