By Charissa Luci-Atienza
House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and his wife, Tingog Sinirangan partylist Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez have filed a bill seeking to provide an early optional retirement for persons with disabilities (PWDs) who are working in government.
They cited the need for the government to recognize the right of PWDs to a “meaning, productive and satisfying life” during and after the government service.
“By allowing an early retirement option, they will be able to focus on maintaining their physical and mental health, which can be more challenging and laborious for disabled persons than others, as they become increasingly susceptible to illnesses that go along with aging, in addition to their disability,” Romualdezes said.
“Requiring disabled persons to continue working in their late ages will expose them to more dangerous circumstances than most,” they said.
Romualdezes filed House Bill 3682 or the proposed Persons with Disability Retirement Act of 2019 to prod the government to give full support to the improvement of the total well-being of disabled persons and their integration into the mainstream society.
Covered by the bill are any appointive officials and employees of the national government, including government-owned or controlled corporations with original charters as well as the personnel of all local government units.
However, uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are excluded from the coverage of the proposed Act.
House Bill 3682 provides that all disabled persons working in government who are members of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), are entitled to the benefits under Section 13 of Republic Act 8291, otherwise known as the GSIS Act of 1997 provided that she or he has rendered at least 15 years of service, has been suffering a disability for at least 10 years immediately preceding the retirement and is at least 55 years of age at the time of retirement.
“The hard work and dedication of our countrymen who are suffering from disabilities must be rewarded. We have to give them the option to retire from government service early and give them the opportunity to live their lives however they wish, with the full support of our government to which they have faithfully served,” Romualdezes said.