Senator Win Gatchalian said a proposed measure that would lower the compulsory and optional retirement age for government personnel should entail a careful analysis of how to make the scheme sustainable as majority of public workers are deemed supportive of the proposal.
“It seems everyone supports the reduction of mandatory and compulsory age retirement and everyone agrees that upon retirement, the basis of pension computation should be one salary grade higher,” he noted at a public hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Civil Service on the proposed measure as well as on a separate measure that calls for the automatic promotion of government officials and employees upon retirement from government service.
“The sustainability of such a pension design boils down to the computation of the life of the fund. Also, if you want to maintain the life of the fund, I want to know how much the government is going to subsidize in terms of equity as both proposals call for an early payout or a bigger payout,” the senator explained, referring to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), which provides social security coverage for employees in the public sector. “That’s why we will need the GSIS to enlighten us and provide us with the computations,” he added.
As the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, he has been receiving calls for legislation that would allow public school teachers to retire early.
At the hearing, Gatchalian also asked the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to study the pension systems in different countries and determine the best practices. “We need to find out the best practices being done in other countries in terms of civil servant retirement so we will have an idea of how other jurisdictions are doing this. Some trends are changing such as life expectancy which will affect pension schemes and we should study those very carefully,” he said.
Gatchalian had earlier filed Senate Bill 944 which seeks to amend Republic Act 8291 or the Government Service Insurance Act of 1997 to lower the compulsory and optional retirement age of government employees from 65 to 60 and from 60 to 55, respectively. The measure has already been approved by the House of Representatives in January this year.
“If approved into law, there will be employment opportunities for more Filipinos, particularly the younger generation who are more adept in new methods and technological advancements which are now becoming essential in the workplace,” Gatchalian added.