By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Rep. Raul “Boboy” Tupas of the fifth district of Iloilo has filed a bill seeking to encourage professionals to join the Reserve Force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The chairman of the House Committee on National Defense and Security filed House Bill No. 6077 or the proposed “Reservist Employment Rights Act” which seeks to prevent and prohibit discrimination in employment on the basis of rendering military service to the State.
“This proposed measure aims to strengthen the employment rights of members of the Citizens Armed Forces or the Reserve Force of the AFP. It ensures non-discrimination in terms of employment, promotion and reinstatement of reservists who rendered military service, whether for training or mobilization,” Tupas said.
The House leader noted that some members of the Reserve Force who augmented manpower support to the regular troops conducting operational activities in Marawi siege in 2017 were refused to be accepted back by their employers after obeying the call to active service.
“Reservists are known to be among the first responders during disasters and calamities, including disaster response and rescue operations, and relief and rehabilitation efforts,” he said.
He said HB 6077 grants employment rights to reservists with the following conditions:
Reservists who perform military service are entitled to their original position or similar position without loss of seniority rights or diminution of pay;
Military service shall not be considered a break in the employment for retirement purposes or granting of benefits; and
Reservists cannot be required to use earned or entitled service incentive leaves for leave of absence in the performance of military service.
Tupas said under HB 6077, every reservist is entitled to a leave of seven days with pay per year for military training or military activities.
This shall be on top of applicable leaves of the reservist-employee, he said.
“Reservists who suffer from disability due to military service shall not be denied reintegration if such employee can still perform the essential functions of their original employment,” Tupas said.
HB 6077 provides that in cases where reintegration is impossible or unreasonable, subject to the determination and approval of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the reservist shall be entitled to at least three months’ worth of basic salary or to a separation pay of one month basic salary per year of service, which is higher.
The bill mandates the mother agency of the reservist to continue to remit the reservist’s premium contribution to the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Pag-Ibig, and Philhealth.
Under the measure, reservists shall have the option to pay their Social Service System (SSS) contribution as a voluntary paying SSS member to avoid any gap in the payment.
“The proposed bill not only benefit reservists who opted to render military service, but will also encourage professionals to join the AFP’s Reserve Force. If this bill becomes a law, it will strengthen the Reserve Force which can be called and mobilized when threat to the country’s peace, security, and sovereignty is imminent,” Tupas said.