Calls to adjust the monthly pension and disability benefits of retirees of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) have snowballed at the House of Representatives.
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, filed House Bill No. 7755 or the Foreign Affairs Retirement and Disability Benefits Act seeking to benefit the DFA retirees.
Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda has pushed for the passage of the measure.
“Our diplomats play various and important roles in the world stage. They represent the Philippines abroad. Aside from helping Filipinos in the areas of jurisdiction, they also advance the interests of the Philippines thru diplomacy,” he said in his bill’s explanatory note.
He noted that in some cases, the country’s diplomats are assigned in dangerous areas, and leave their families behind.
“They sacrifice a lot for the Philippines. That is why the government tries its best to provide the best possible benefits to them, not only during their service but also when they retire,” Rodriguez said.
He said his proposed Foreign Affairs Retirement and Disability Benefits Act aims to provide the DFA retirees “with adequate support to afford a decent living, to be at par with the current pay scale enjoyed by those that are currently in active service.”
“This is the least we can do in order to recognize all the sacrifices and hard work of our diplomats,” the House leader said.
Covered by the measure are the retired officers and employees of the DFA who served in the Department for at least 15 years and are eligible to receive a monthly pension from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
Rodriguez’s bill provides that all other officers and employees of the DFA who have also retired after serving in the DFA, but who have not complied with such requirements, shall be covered by applicable benefits under the GSIS Act, as amended.
HB 7755 provides that the monthly pension benefits of all DFA retirees, as provided for under Republic Act No. 7157, the Foreign Service Act of 1991 , shall be automatically adjusted at the same rate as any future or subsequent increase in the salary of the same rank he or she retired from.
According to the bill, the benefits shall be granted to all retirees of the DFA who retired prior to the effectivity of the proposed Act.