Gov’t owes 112,000 military pensioners P16 billion

 

Gov’t owes 112,000 military pensioners P16 billion

The government owes the country’s 112,000 retired soldiers about P16 billion in pension and benefits.

This prompted Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City) and Maximo Rodriguez Jr. (Abante Mindanao) to file House Resolution 1158 urging the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to

conduct an inquiry into the matter and come up with options to address the problem.

“There is a need to look into the finances of the government and find possible sources of additional funding to pay the retirement and pension benefits of retired soldiers in the country,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the funding problem for the pensioners had deteriorated since 2006 when the Armed Forces Philippine-Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS) was deactivated due to irregularities.

Citing a report from Col. Rolando Jungco, Chief of the AFP Pension and Gratuity Management Center, Rodriguez said the funding requirement for the retirement benefits of the soldiers have ballooned to P16 billion because some 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers are retiring from the service every year.

Under Presidential Decree 361 that created AFP-RSBS, all officers and enlisted personnel in the active service shall contribute to the System an amount equivalent to 4 percent of their monthly base and

longevity pay, which contribution shall be deducted from their pay from the AFP and paid to the System.

Rodriguez said the law provided that any officer or enlisted person, who is separated through no fault of his own and is not eligible for either retirement or separation benefits shall, upon his separation, be refunded in one lump sum all his actual contributions to the AFP-RSBS, plus interest at the rate of 4 percent.

Rodriguez said the irregularities under the AFP-RSBS started when its funds were invested in low-return real estate projects and loans.

“These soldiers have sacrificed the prime of their lives to fight and defend the country but up to this time they are yet to receive their pension and benefits,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the congressional inquiry shall also “serve notice to all concerned including the DND, AFP and such other entities and corporations, which may shed light and resolve the issue.”

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