By Ellson Quismorio
The House of Representatives has approved on second reading House Bill (HB) No. 8683, which seeks to lower the optional retirement age for government employees from 60 to 56.
The bill seeks to amend Section 13-A of Republic Act (RA) 8291, otherwise known as the “Government Service Insurance Act of 1997.”
The amendments to Section 13-A entitled Conditions of Entitlement provide that a GSIS member who retires from the government service shall be entitled to the retirement benefits in paragraph (a) of Section 13 hereof, provided that such member :1) has rendered at least 15 years of service; 2) is at least 56 years of age at the time of retirement; and 3) is not receiving a monthly pension benefit from permanent total disability.
Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization Chairman Rep. Jesus Nonato Sacdalan (1st District, North Cotabato) sponsored the bill on the floor.
ACT-Teachers party-list Rep. AntonioTinio said that public school teacher in the Philippines encounter more challenges than counterparts in other countries, but they retire five years later.
“Respect and humane consideration demand that a person of 55 years – a few years shy of being a senior citizen – should not be required to perform the arduous functions expected of a public school teacher in the Philippines,” Tinio said.
“At such stage of their lives, public school teachers should at least be given the choice if they wish to rest from the profession and enjoy more good and healthy years ahead,” added Tinio.
AKO Bicol party-list Rep. Arnel Batocabe pointed out that with a lower optional retirement age, the retirees can enjoy a better quality of life through their pension and retirement benefits at an earlier age, as a bill is already being introduced to lower age to qualify as a senior citizen.
“This bodes well for the families of our retirees as well, as our retirees will have more time to spend with their loved ones in relative comfort. Our retirees and their families will enjoy the fruits of decades’ worth of labor and will lessen the burden on the family’s spending,” said Batocabe.