Bill lowering gov’t optional retirement age to 56 gets final House nod

The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed on third and final reading the bill seeking to lower the optional retirement age for government personnel from the current 60 years old to 56 years old.

The House plenary (Ellson Quismorio/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Approved during the plenary session Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 31 was House Bill (HB) No.206.

Deputy Speaker and Batangas 6th district Rep. Ralph Recto, who presided over Monday's session, said that the measure received 268 affirmative votes during nominal voting. There was one negative vote and one abstention.

House Speaker Martin Romualdez said the proposed law gives the more than one million workers in the bureaucracy the choice to retire early.

“They can opt to quit working, receive their benefits, do other activities, and enjoy life in retirement with their loved ones even before they become senior citizens,” he said in a statement.

“It’s surely more fun to live life without work-related stress,” added the Leyte 1st district congressman.

A consolidation of 13 measures, HB No.206 is titled, “An Act lowering the optional retirement age of government workers from sixty years to 56 years, amending for the purpose Section 13-A of Republic Act (RA) No.8291, otherwise known as The Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Act of 1997.”

It states that a government worker-GSIS member would be entitled to retirement benefits if he or she is at least 56 years of age at the time of retirement, has rendered service for at least 15 years, and is not receiving a monthly pension for permanent total disability.

Under RA No.8291, a retiring member could opt for a five-year lump sum of benefits, with his or her monthly pension to be paid after five years, or the cash equivalent of 18 months, with the payment of pension taking effect immediately.

Retirement is compulsory at 65 years old.