Ranking solon wants to upgrade pension of retired foreign service officers

A ranking congressman is pursuing a new retroactive retirement plan for the country’s foreign service officers in an effort to upgrade their pensions when they reach old age or suffer some other disability.

4Ps Party-list Rep. Marcelino Libanan (Facebook)

House Minority Leader and 4Ps Party-list Rep. Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan penned and filed House Bill (HB) No. 4077, or the proposed Act establishing a foreign service retirement program under the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

“We have to consider the financial challenges faced by our foreign service officers in preparing for their eventual retirement, including their need to resettle and establish a home here in the country after completing their tours of duty overseas,” Libanan said.

“The Foreign Service Law of 1991, or Republic Act (RA) No. 7157, actually endorsed the creation of the very program that we are now pushing for,” he noted.

Libanan cited Section 62 of the 1991 law, which provides that: “The President, upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, may, as soon as practicable, submit for enactment by Congress a foreign service retirement program.“

The new program would cover all foreign service officers, including those who previously retired or became disabled, as long as they had served for at least 15 years in the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) or in other government agencies.

Under Libanan’s bill, the monthly pension of retired foreign service officers would be automatically raised based on any future upward adjustment in the pay rate of their last salary grade when they left their jobs.

Differential funding for the program would be sourced from the DFA’s available savings and consular income, as included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

To guarantee program funding, the DFA and the state-run GSIS would be required to meet yearly to ascertain the new money needed.

The DFA would then be obliged to remit to the GSIS as much additional contributions as necessary to sustain the program.

Based on the 2022 General Appropriations Act’s Staffing Summary, the DFA currently has a total of 3,300 authorized permanent positions.