Solons pushes for separate funding program for soldiers

A legislator on Tuesday expressed support for the establishment of a separate pension fund for soldiers to ease the burden of paying the pensions of retired military personnel from the Government Service Insurance System.

Senior Citizen Party-list Rep. Francisco Datol, Jr. vice chairman of the House Special Committee on Senior Citizen, broached the idea as President Duterte’s ordered the Departments of Finance, and Budget Management to draft a plan to establish a soldier’s fund to be administered by the GSIS.

The soldier’s pension fund will be separate from the pension fund of other government personnel now being administered by the GSIS.

“I agree with the broad strokes of the solution Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno have disclosed so far and I am hereby committing to file and push for the draft bill as soon as the DOF and DBM have finalized it,” Datol, also member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Welfare, said.

Aside from the contribution from soldiers and the counterpart to be provided by the government through budgetary allocations, Datol proposed the augmentation of the fund through taxes imposed on firearms, bullets, explosives imported by private sector.

“To lessen the premiums burden on retired soldiers who are now senior citizens and on the retiring military servicemen, I suggest that there be a particular tax on firearms, ammunition, and explosives imported by the businesses and private individuals and that proceeds of this tax go to the soldiers’ pension fund,” Datol said.

In the middle of 1970s, then President Ferdinand E Marcos established the Armed Forces of the Philippines Retirement and Separation Benefit System to equalize the pensions of all military retirees.

Aging military retirees have been complaining that their pensions are considerably lower than the pensions of recent and younger retirees, Datol said.

The situation came about because of the drastic increases in the salaries of uniformed personnel during the imposition of Martial Law.

However, military observers said the RSBS was “ill-fated” from the very start because the administration gave only P2 million as a start-up fund while actuarial studies conducted indicated that a P2-billion fund was needed to make the fund viable.

Topics: pension fund , Government Service Insurance System , Senior Citizen Party-list , Francisco Datol Jr.
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