The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) commented on the position of the retirees saying a list of claimants for the payment of pension differential is needed and the indexation of the pension of the retirees remains suspended until 2019 “or upon the effectivity of the pension reform law, or which comes earlier.”
The DBM made a reply to the position paper filed by the Philippine National Police Retirees Association Inc. (PRAI) about the two issues raised by the retirees.
Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno wrote to PRAI – Bohol chapter president Sr. Insp. Alberto Pilayre (Ret) explaining the position of the DBM on the issues.
Diokno said in his letter to Pilayre the claimants of the non-payment of 26 months pension differential, the Philippine National Police shall submit an alpha list of claimants. The submission of the list is “consistent with the validation process” such in the case of the retirees of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Such list shall be submitted to the Commission on Audit for validation before the DBM is able to release funds.
Diokno said, “to date, we have not yet received said list.”
The Budget Secretary also commented on the exclusion of the pension indexation in the modified Base Pay Schedule.
Diokno said the indexation of the pension of military and uniformed personnel (MUP) shall be suspended with respect with Item III of the Joint Resolution (JR) No. 1 series of 2018.
The suspension is done in deference to the current review of MUP pension system “by the legislative and executive branches of government.” The review is aimed towards ensuring a sustainable and equitable pension system.
Thus, Diokno said, indexation of such pension shall be “based on the rates of the Base Pay Schedule provided in JR No. 4 notwithstanding the provisions of pertinent laws.
The Secretary mentioned Presidential Decree No. 1638, Republic Act (RA) No. 8551. RA 5976, RA 9993 and RA 9263.
“The suspension shall be automatically lifted on January 1, 2019 or upon the effectivity of a pension reform law, whichever comes earlier,” said Diokno.
BACK IN TIME
Earlier, the PRAI leadership slammed the alleged dilatory tactics by the DBM for the delay the release of funds about the 26-month differential.
As a result, the retirees staged a nationwide rally to inform people, including the President, about the retirees’ predicament.
The rally gained support following the signing of a manifesto by the top leaders of the former police retirees group headed by its Chairman and President Police Director Van Luspo (Ret.)
The retirees demanded to release all pension differentials, which is about P3 billion for PNP retirees alone, on top the AFP retirees.
The group wanted to include the pension indexation in the salary standardization and be consulted in the matters of reforming the pension laws, which should be prospective and shall not in violation of the present retirees’ vested rights.
Back in December, the police retirees expressed their delight and jubilation after the Senate approved a resolution keeping the Indexation Law and police retirees are included in pension adjustments as a result.
The JR No. 11 sponsored by Sen Gregorio Honasan was approved by the Senate after a marathon hearing, said a statement from PRAI released to the media, according to Pilayre.
With the retention of the Indexation Law, retirees will be included in the 4th SSL pension adjustment in 2018.
There’s a caveat. The general appropriations act of 2018 has been already approved before the approval of joint resolution no. 11. As a result, there are no funds appropriated in the national budget for the pension adjustment.
To correct the problem, retirees will get a one-year differential in 2019. At the same time, the pension the retirees will be getting gets an increase.
In a manifesto, sent to various media outlets, PRAI said aside from the initial issue; it has been observed with great vigilance to exclude the police retirees from the increase of base pay of active PNP members this coming fiscal year 2018.
The intention of which, said the manifesto, gets the full support of active PNP members.
The police retirees have supported the increase of the base pay of active police personnel, but without prejudice to the vested right to pension indexation, which led to the issuance of Executive Order 201 by then President Aquino.
PRAI said it could not allow the move of the DBM to suspend the pension indexation. It has even proposed to Congress a joint resolution to the effect of putting a stop in the moves of the previous administration.
The group has continuously opposed EO 201 and tagged it as discriminatory and unconstitutional.
Diokno said the indexation must be suspended as it may cause financial risk to the state fund.
Allegedly, it would take P7 trillion to sustain the indexation with the increase of the base pay of active PNP members.
PRAI does not understand where the DBM is coming from on this issue.
SOFT HEART AND UNDERSTANDING FOR THE RETIREES
Retirees, like active PNP personnel, served the country during the best years of their lives.
Most of the retirees are aging and sickly and may have few years left to live.
The retirees should be given special considerations since most of them are relying on pension for sustenance as they enter the twilight zone of their lives.