MANILA -- A bill lowering the optional retirement age of government employees from 60 to 56 years old hurdled committee level at the House of Representatives.
The House Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization on Wednesday approved a still-unnumbered substitute bill which consolidated all bills seeking to amend Republic Act 8291 or the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Act of 1997.
The bill will be submitted to the plenary for another round of approval.
In a statement on Thursday, ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio, chair of the technical working group tasked to draft the substitute bill, said it is high time to heed the civil servants' clamor for an earlier retirement age for them to "enjoy their retirement benefits for as long as possible."
Another ACT Teachers lawmaker, France Castro, said that public school teachers have consistently raised their demand to be given the choice to retire earlier during their formal and informal consultations nationwide.
"It is imperative that Congress listen to these government workers who have devoted their lives to honing the minds and nurturing the hearts of our youth, in spite of receiving meager salaries, working in underfunded schools and doing additional, usually unpaid, miscellaneous tasks," Castro said.
Both lawmakers stressed that the bill would not be detrimental to the state workforce as most government employees prefer to stay in service for a longer time even working up to 65 years old, the mandatory retirement age.
"While the 65 years old mandatory retirement age remains, government employees should be given the freedom to retire earlier, especially those who are suffering from ailments and are in need of intensive medical attention," they said.
They also called on both chambers of Congress to prioritize the swift passage of the measure. (PNA)