The proposal to scrap/cut/stop the pension adjustment of retired military pensioners and surviving spouses under Presidential Decree 1638 whenever active soldiers are given a salary increase is “unconstitutional,” untimely and anti-people, given ever-rising prices of basic commodities, tuition, medicines, services, electricity and transport fares, aggravated by high/exorbitant interest rates and the many miscellaneous deductions being levied by lending establishments on pension loans.
The staggering trillions and trillions of pesos that will supposedly be needed to be budgeted for the program in the next 10, 20, 30, 40 years is a mere concoction to frighten government and President Aquino.
Our counter-proposal is this: PD 1638 should be amended. The provision stating that the pensions of retired military personnel should also be given an adjustment whenever the active members of the AFP receive a salary increase, should be qualified thus: “This provision shall continue in full force and effect, covering only those military personnel who have already retired; the incoming retirees shall no longer be covered by this particular provision effective upon approval of this amendment to this Decree.” Our reason for this is: after 10 years, 60 percent of the pensioners will no longer be around; after 20 years, only 30 percent will be alive, and after 30 years, probably not one of them would be left.
The government should allocate funds from the royalties from the Malampaya oil/gas wells to pay the more than 100 months differential arrears that have accumulated due to plunder, as exposed by former Lt. Col. George Rabusa. Likewise, monthly pensions and adjustments must be taken from Malampaya oil/gas income and other oil/gas projects in the country. Military pensioners risked their lives in patriotic service to the country. And in the event of a shooting war breaking out between the Philippines and another country, say China, over the Spratlys and the oil reserves believed to be underneath them, the able-bodied among the military pensioners could be called back for duty.
Hence, pensioners are not a “burden,” as some critics see them. Why is it that some people are hell-bent to deprive us of our already minuscule life-sustaining pension adjustment under PD 1638?
—ROBERTO B. CAOILE,
retired Army 2Lt,
Federasyon ng Retiradong
Kasundaluhan at Kapamilya
sa Pilipinas-International Inc.,
193-B Guiho St., Cembo,
Fort Bonifacio, Makati City