Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson took the cudgels for retired career officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as he pushed for an increase in their monthly pension and disability benefits, in exchange for their long years of looking after the welfare of Filipinos and the interests of the Philippines abroad.
Lacson, in filing Senate Bill 2347, lamented that some of our DFA retirees were receiving a measly pension despite rendering long years of service at the frontlines of Philippine foreign relations, at times risking their lives under dangerous conditions in their countries of assignment.
“Personnel of the DFA are at the frontlines of Philippine foreign relations, sometimes risking their lives under dangerous conditions in their countries of assignment. While in active service, diplomats have demonstrated their resilience as the Philippines’ first line of representation in dealing with a plethora of concerns. Their initiative, competence, professionalism, and creativity have resulted in enduring bilateral and multilateral partnerships, strategic agreements and collaborative engagements that continue to be harnessed for our people’s benefits,” he said.
The bill therefore aims to provide both present and future retirees of the foreign service “support that is adequate and responsive to their needs, and to reassure them that their dedication and loyalty to the Filipino people is not forgotten.”
Lacson, who chairs the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Commission on Appointments, made the call for better benefits after meeting recently with retired Ambassador Raul Hernandez, who is now the Assistant Secretary of the DFA’s Department Legislative Liaison Unit (DLLU).
Senate Bill 2347 applies to retired officers or employees of the DFA who have served in the DFA for at least 15 years and are eligible to receive monthly pensions from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
Under the bill, the monthly pension benefits of all retirees of the DFA as provided under Republic Act 7157 shall be automatically adjusted at the same rate as any future or subsequent increase in the salary grade of the same rank he or she retired from.