Senator Christopher “Bong” Go and three other senators have filed a measure that proposes to grant additional benefits and privileges to former presidents of the Philippines as they continue to render significant contributions to society even after their respective terms.
Aside from Go, Senators Mark Villar, Francis ‘’Tol’’ Tolentino, and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, filed Senate Bill (SB) No.1784, or the proposed “Former Presidents Benefits Act of 2023”, on Jan. 26.
The bill notes that former presidents are expected to “perform post-presidential duties such as meeting with foreign and local dignitaries, and attending public events and other social engagements".
For this reason, these duties often require them to employ the services of personal staff and maintain private offices, the bill stated.
At times, former presidents still need to cater to constituents, make public appearances and receive visitors given their stature. Having an office will allow them to manage such responsibilities with the help of dedicated staff and resources through this proposed measure.
"Former presidents also often receive requests for speeches, appearances, or other engagements, and a physical office can provide a centralized location for managing these activities," Go explained.
If the bill is enacted into law, all former presidents shall be entitled to additional benefits and privileges, such as personal security and protection, adequate staff provided by the Office of the President, and suitable office space, among others.
By tradition, assigning Presidential Security Group (PSG) members to guard former presidents depends on the incumbent President. Whereas, the proposed bill shall mandate this and give the former presidents the right to choose the head of their own security team.
Apart from the said benefits, the bill also seeks to provide the former presidents’ immediate family security protection in order to thwart any attempt to harm them even after leaving public office.
All former presidents shall be entitled to the privileges and benefits under the proposed measure for the remainder of their lives.
Meanwhile, Go also filed a measure that shall increase pensions for Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) retirees.
SB No.1706 seeks to adjust the monthly pension and disability benefits of the said agency’s retirees, citing their immeasurable service to Filipinos worldwide, especially during critical times, disasters, security threats, and other crisis situations.
“Their patriotism, integrity, professionalism and genuine concern for the welfare of our kababayans here and abroad are sincere expressions of their devotion to the country in achieving the aspirations of the Filipino people,” Go noted.