Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation, led the virtual hearing on bills proposing lifetime validity of birth certificate and lowering the optional retirement age of government employees.
Revilla noted that while the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) already publicly declared on numerous occasions that the birth certificates they issue have no expiration, several government agencies and private organizations still require these documents using the latest security paper which cost the applicant P155 for an authenticated copy and P365 when delivered at their personal address.
“This requirement costs our people valuable time and money. Lalo na po ngayong panahon ng pandemya ung kailan apektado nang husto ang ating ekonomiya, anumang karagdagang gastusin ay iindahin talaga ng mga kababayan natin. Dagdag pa rito ang panganib o risk na mahawahan ng virus kung sila ay lalabas ng bahay upang kumuha ng birth certificate,” Revilla said.
The resource persons, including the PSA, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of Education (DepEd), expressed full support on the measures.
The committee also discussed the lowering of retirement age of government employees and consulted several agencies including the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), as well as non-government associations such as the Philippine Government Employees Association (PGEA), Philippine Public School Teachers Associations (PPSTA), Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), Teachers Dignity Coalition, Alliance for Concerned Teachers (ACT), Sentro ng Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO), Non-Uniformed Personnel Association, Inc. (NUPAI).
“Ang paglilingkod sa bayan bilang isang kawani ng pamahalaan ay isang karangalan. Ang karangalang ito ay tinatapatan naman nila ng sipag at dedikasyon sa kanilang trabaho. Kaya’t ang mga umaabot ng retirement age sa gobyerno ay maituturing na mga haligi at huwaran ng serbisyo publiko,” he underscored.
Revilla stressed that the retirees should be able to enjoy the benefits due them. “Lowering the retirement age will ensure that our senior citizens will be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor and spend more time with their family and friends as well as pursue other endeavours as they approach the twilight of their years,” Revilla said in Senate Bill No. 72, which proposes the lowering of compulsory retirement age of government employees from 65 to 60, and the optional retirement age from 60 to 55.
SB 715 of Sen. Joel Villanueva and SB 958 of Sen. Sonny Angara proposed the lowering of the optional retirement age of public school teachers from 60 to 55.
Meanwhile, House Bill 5509, which was approved by the House of Representatives last December 2019, lowers the optional retirement age of government workers from 60 to 56.
CSC Commissioner Aileen Lizada pointed out that the Philippines has the oldest mandatory and optional retirement age in ASEAN.
Based on the statistical data, the Philippines has the oldest retirement age at 65 years old compared to other ASEAN countries where the retirement age ranges from 50 to 60 years old. The Philippines also has the oldest optional retirement age at 60 years old, while government workers in other ASEAN countries can retire early at 40-55 years old or after 4-10 years of service.
GSIS expressed support on the measures, but posed reservations considering its possible impact to the insurance fund life.