By Martin Sadongdong
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has expressed gratitude to President Duterte's support to the military, which latest proof was the implementation of increase in the pension of Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP).
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (KING RODRIGUEZ / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Lorenzana, in his letter to the Commander-in-Chief Saturday, recognized the approval and prioritization of the Department's request to implement the provisions of Joint Resolution (JR) No. 1 which authorizes "the increase in base pay of military and uniformed personnel in the government, and for other purposes." It was signed on January 1, 2019 by the President.
"Truly, your unparalleled support for our uniformed personnel serves as our guiding light as the AFP continues to pursue its duty to the Filipino nation," he said.
"Through the increase of the pension of the Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP), the sacrifice and dedicated service of our soldiers have been truly and duly recognized," he added.
According to Lorenzana, the Department of National Defense (DND) had recommended that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) be directed to implement the pension indexation under JR No. 1, series of 2018 and release additional funds for that purpose.
The intention was expressed by the Department through an official letter addressed to Malacanang last May 17 and signed by then officer-in-charge, Defense Undersecretary Cardozo Luna.
On June 13, the DBM finally announced that it had disbursed some P54.23 billion for the pension of retired military, police, and uniformed personnel -- P29.9 billion of which was allotted to the AFP -- following the delayed implementation of the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Meanwhile, P21.7 billion was allotted to the Philippine National Police (PNP); P1.9 billion to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP); and P731 million to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).
Accordingly, the disbursements include the "adjustment of the pension of retired MUPs as indexed to the base pay scale of MUP in the active service covering the period June to December 2019."
"The momentous grant of the Department's request will help in its pursuit of its mandate to protect the State and the Constitution, and will boost the morale of our past, present and future defenders, who have risked their lives in service to the Philippines and its people," Lorenzana concluded.