August 17, 2010
Senate asks generals to study proposal to move mandatory AFP, PNP retirement age to 60
The Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, in a joint hearing with the committees on Public Order and Illegal Drugs and Finance, this morning asked generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (PNP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to submit a report on whether they were amenable to move the retirement age in military and police service to 60 years old from current compulsory age of 56.
The Senate Defense Committee, chaired by Senator Francis Escudero, conducted its first public hearing Tuesday to study, among others, Senate Bill No. 329 authored by Senator Antonio Trillanes, which seeks to "fix the retirement age of officers and enlisted personnel of the AFP and the PNP to 65 years of age."
However, during the hearing, Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente "Tito" Sotto suggested that making soldiers and policemen retire at 60 years of age would be more appropriate.
"Let's be honest, for a soldier, the retirement age of 65 years is too old. Masakit na mga tuhod nila. I think a mandatory age of 60 would be more appropriate. Retiring our soldiers at age 56 is too early. Malakas pa sila at that age," Sotto said.
Sotto added the country can benefit from the soldiers' wisdom, expertise and their experience longer if they will retire at 60 years old instead of 56. "At age 55, it's too late for them to start a new career in life but if they will retire at 60, the AFP can still utilize them," Sotto pointed out.
Among the resource persons who were present during the hearing were Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, AFP Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Ricardo David; Philippine Army Chief of Staff Brigadier General Renato David, who represented Army Chief, Major General Arturo Ortiz; Philippine Navy Acting Flag-Officer-in Command Rear Admiral Danilo Cortez and Air Force Chief Lt. General Oscar Rabena.
Under Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1638, as amended by P.D. No. 1650 entitled "Establishing a New System of Retirement and Separation for Military Personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and For Other Purposes" and Republic Act No. 6975 also known as the "Department of Interior and Local Government Act of 1990," retirement age of military personnel and PNP members are pegged at 56 years of age.
In his bill, Trillanes said that retiring soldiers at an early age deprives them of the opportunity for promotion to a higher rank and position. At age 56, Trillanes noted, they are at the prime of their lives and are still very much capable of rendering their skills in the interest of the service.
"Irrefutably, military and police personnel are trained and educated by the government, unlike other government employees. Their employment until age 65 will optimize the utilization of their expertise, leadership and professional competence," Trillanes noted in his proposal.
During the hearing, Escudero noted that Senate Bill No. 20, prescribing fixed terms for the AFP Chief of Staff and major service commanders, and Senate Bill No. 204, increasing the quarters allowance of officers and enlisted personnel of the AFP, which were approved by the Senate during the 14th Congress, were refiled by their respective authors in the present 15th Congress.
* Press Release by Public Relations and Information Bureau (PRIB)
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