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Lawmaker bats for 10% increase in government retirees' monthly pension

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A lawmaker has moved to increase the monthly pension of government retirees by 10 percent to be subsequently increased every five years thereafter.

House Bill No. 5150, authored by Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla, shall cover all past, present and future qualified civil servants of the government who retire under the pension system.

The bill authorizes the President of the country to realign or transfer any item appropriate within the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and/or utilize any savings to implement the Act. Any additional amount needed shall be included in the overall Appropriations Act of the ensuing Fiscal Years.

"There is a need to upgrade the pension and expand the benefits due our senior citizens so they can address more adequately their subsistence needs and meet their mounting medical expenses that come with their progressively degenerating health conditions of ageing," said Mercado-Revilla.
She explained that the number of GSIS pensioners who are senior citizens increased by 4.9 percent between 2008 and 2009, and 5.6 percent between 2009 and 2010.

As of December 31, 2010, the total number of government retirees already reached 199,579.

Citing a study of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), Mercado-Revilla said the average pension a senior citizen receives from the GSIS was only P7,768 in 2008, P8,359 in 2009, and P8,586 in 2010. GSIS only approved a 1.5 percent increase in pensions effective January 2010.

She said the share of senior citizens to total population has been steadily increasing over time and is projected to go up to 13.8 percent in 2040.

"After long years of dedicated service in government, molding the minds of our youth and contributing to the creation of human capital in our country, senior citizens certainly deserve a much better pension scheme. It is highly doubtful that the monthly pensions are sufficient even for the subsistence needs of one person, much less when they would need caregivers and additional health expenses," she said.

The Cavite lady lawmaker stressed that upgrading the monthly pension of senior citizens to a living pension stipend would significantly help the sector cope with rising commodity prices and increasing cost of services.

She said it is the declared policy of the State, from time to time, to review and to upgrade the pensions and other benefits due to retirees of both the government and private sectors.

"As far as may be possible, the State should provide a living monthly pension to government retirees cope with rising commodity prices and increasing cost of services. This is to enable them to live a dignified living standard even in retirement in keeping with the commitment of the government," she said.

Mercado-Revilla said the measure is "a timely gesture of recognition and appreciation, even gratitude this nation owes senior citizens for their lifelong, loyal and dedicated service to our people."

By Lilybeth G. Ison - PNA




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