Rep. Suarez assures MUP: Funds for pension 'intact, enough'

Rep. Suarez assures MUP: Funds for pension ‘intact, enough’

/ 08:04 PM February 20, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Deputy Speaker David Suarez has assured military and uniformed personnel (MUPs) that funds in the 2024 national budget allocated for their pension are intact and enough to cover payouts, despite rumors that the pension fund was slashed in favor of social aid.

Suarez in a statement on Monday said that there is even an allowance in the pension fund of retired government workers, which indicates that it would not face a shortage.

“Walang dapat ikabahala ang mga retiradong government at military pensioners at kanilang mga kaanak. Intact at sapat po ang pondo para sa kanilang pensyon,” Suarez said.


(Relatives of retired government and military pensioners should not worry because the pension fund is intact and enough.)


Suarez said that he came out with the statement to clear the air after Senator Imee Marcos claimed that the Ayuda para sa Kapos ang Kita Program (AKAP) — a one-time cash assistance for the near-poor Filipinos — was created by diverting billions of funds originally intended for the pensions of retired MUPs and government workers.

According to Marcos, pensions suffered a reduction of more than P10 billion in the 2024 national budget due to the allocation for AKAP.

In response to Suarez’ statements, Marcos sent to a figure showing the differences in several items’ allocation in the 2024 National Expenditures Program (NEP) or the budget prepared by the executive before being handed to Congress and the General Appropriations Act (GAA) or the final budget which her brother, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., signed into law.

According to Senator Marcos, the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) had P15.30 billion in the 2024 NEP, but it was trimmed down to P9.896 billion in the GAA — for a variance of P5.412 billion.

Marcos also highlighted other agencies:

  • Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (2024 NEP: P135.7 billion; GAA: P29.67 billion; Variance: P106.0 billion)
  • Pension and Gratuity Fund (2024 NEP: P253.2 billion; GAA: P142.9 billion; Variance: P110.2 billion)
  • Revised AFP Modernization Program (2024 NEP: P50 billion; GAA: P40 billion; Variance: P10 billion)

“Halos 50% po or P110.25 Billion ang nabawas sa pension budget (Almost 50 percent or P110.25 billion was slashed from the pension budget),” Senator Marcos said.


“Ang dapat po nating hingan ng paglilinaw ay ang DBM (Department of Budget and Management) kung sapat ba talaga ang naiwang pension funds para sa buong taong pangangailangan ng mga military at uniformed personnel ng DND (Department of National Defense), PNP (Philippine National Police), Coast Guard, at iba pa at kakulangan sa retirement benefits at separation pay ng mga empleyado ng gobyerno,” she added.

(We should seek a clarification from the DBM if the remaining pension funds are really enough for this year’s needs of the military at uniformed personnel from the DND, PNP, Coast Guard, and other retirement benefits and separation pay for workers in government.)

But Suarez stressed that the 2024 national budget was approved by the Senate and the House, which means that each provision in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) was scrutinized by members of both chambers.

“Lahat ng probisyong nakapaloob sa budget ay dumadaan sa masusing pagsusuri. Wala naman pong maaring maganap na realignment o paggalaw ng budget na hindi pinapagtibay ng dalawang kapulungan,” he noted.

(All the provisions inside the budget went through scrutiny. It is impossible to put realignments or allocation movements in the budget that was not certified by both chambers of Congress.)

Last February 14, Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. noted that Senator Marcos knew of the AKAP, despite her previous pronouncements, as she signed the exact page in the then-proposed budget that contained AKAP provisions.

“Para malinawan lang po natin, ito po oh, nakabilog ‘yong pangalan niya (Senator Marcos), na pumirma siya sa bicam report, sana po tinignan niya ‘to, this P26.7 billion. Binulugan ko po ‘yong pangalan niya, ako po nakapirma po ako dito,” Gonzales said.

(Just for clarity, it is here, her name, that she signed the bicameral conference committee report. I hope she looked at this P26.7 billion. I encircled her name. I was also a signatory of this document.)

READ: Magic project? Gonzales says Senate approved funding for AKAP

Questions about AKAP were raised by Senator Marcos, who said in a Senate hearing last Tuesday that the said program was unknown to senators. Marcos also speculated that the AKAP funds were used to entice people into signing in favor of the people’s initiative campaign to amend the Constitution, which some senators believe was being orchestrated by House leaders.

Several House officials have already called out Senator Marcos for her claims, with Ako Bicol party-list lawmaker Rep. Elizaldy Co saying that the senator was tarnishing the pure intentions of AKAP.

It was Co, chairperson of the House committee on appropriations, who first announced the new program last December after the bicameral conference committee approved the final version of the budget.

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READ: Workers earning no more than P23,000 monthly to get P5,000 aid – House 

TAGS: MUP, pension

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