President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday urged Congress to pass a measure providing free legal assistance to any officer or enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“It is also high time for us to pass a law providing free legal assistance to AFP and PNP officers enlisted personnel to help them from charges arising from incidence related to the performance of official duty,” he said.
He expressed gratitude to the legislature for working with the executive department to strengthen the country’s police and military institutions through the modernization program, as well as boosting the morale of cops and soldiers by increasing their salaries.
“I thank Congress for working with the executive department in enhancing capabilities of the AFP and PNP through our modernization program,” he said. “In 2018, we raised the salaries of our military and uniformed policemen and personnel to a level commensurate to the critical role they play in upholding national security and maintaining order.”
Duterte also urged Congress to provide a unified system for separation, retirement, and pension of military and uniformed services personnel to address the bloating pension system.
“I am asking Congress to pass a unified system of separation, retirement and pension of military and uniformed personnel to maintain government fiscal flexibility and provide adequate benefits and remuneration to our men and women in uniform,” he said.
The said MUP pension reform shall only apply to new entrants.
The House version of the bill proposes the retention of the MUP pension scheme with the condition that pay raises of MUP personnel will be capped at an annual increase of 5 percent for 10 years.
The present scheme features the option to avail of early retirement after at least 20 years of service, even ahead of the mandatory retirement age of 56.
In addition, the monthly pension of MUP retirees is automatically indexed to the salary of the next in rank in the active service.
The Senate version, on the other hand, rejects indexation for new entrants, proposes to retain the same rank upon retirement, and introduces mandatory contribution.