Press Release
March 12, 2018

Job security for military reservists, approved in Senate

The Senate approved today on third and final reading a bill seeking to encourage citizens to volunteer for Citizen Armed Forces or the Philippine Army Reserve Command by ensuring them that they would be reintegrated in their careers after their military service for active duty training or deployment.

Senate Bill No. 1698 or the Reservists Employment Rights Act was approved with 16 affirmative votes, zero negative vote and no abstention. The bill was introduced by Senators Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV, Joel Villanueva, Gregorio Honasan II and Loren Legarda. It was sponsored by Aquino and Villanueva.

With the internal and external threats the Philippines is facing, Aquino said, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) needs a dedicated, experienced and sophisticated reserve force that was comparable to other nations.

He said many men and women were willing to volunteer for a chance to serve and protect their country. He cited Villanueva, Legarda, Senate Majority Leader Vicente "Tito" Sotto III and Senator Manny Pacquiao as the Senate's reservists.

"Our reservists signed up to serve the country, but they did not sign up to lose their jobs and their livelihood," Aquino said.

"We must pass this measure to guarantee that at the end of their required military service, reservists will be reinstated to their civilian careers, and to an equivalent position without loss of seniority or decrease in pay," Aquino said.

"Furthermore, we must pass this measure to protect our reservists who suffer any injury or disability during their service, ensuring their reintegration to the civilian work force, so long as they can perform the essential function of their original employment," he added.

Meanwhile, Villanueva said while the AFP remained among the least capable militaries in the region in terms warring capabilities, it certainly was not when it came to the number of reservists, who were engineers, IT experts, bankers, doctors, among others.

He said the AFP had a total 385,116 reservists in 2017, almost three times the number of active force in the AFP.

"Our reservists should be entitled to their original position without loss of seniority rights or reduction or pay. Likewise, their military service should not be considered a break in the employment for retirement purposes," Villanueva said.

"Reservists have the right to return to the same job they were doing before they were mobilized; they have the right to receive the same salary level prior to their call to military service; and they have the right to equal treatment in the workplace," Villanueva added.

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