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HOME  ❯  SONA 2022 PROMISE TRACKER  ❯  Armed Forces

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Editor’s note: This tracker was updated on July 20, 2024. It was first published on July 17, 2023

(Updated) Two years after President Ferdinand Marcos enumerated a legislative wishlist during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), three of the measures related to the strengthening of the country’s armed forces are still pending in Congress.

While the House of Representatives approved House Bill (HB) No. 8969, which seeks to provide a unified pension system for military and other uniformed personnel (MUP), its counterpart bill in the Senate remains at the committee level since December 2023.

Previously, economic authorities warned that the current MUP pension system may lead to fiscal collapse as the government is fully funding this without any contribution from retirees and active personnel. This year, MUP senior officials sat down with the government’s economic team to discuss the proposed MUP pension system. 

MUP officials raised questions about the government’s ability to meet its current pension obligations and the economic team assured them of the state’s commitment. But Deputy Treasurer Erwin Sta. Ana said the government alone will not be able to sustain the pension fund in the long run and that is why reforms are necessary.

Former Finance secretary Benjamin Diokno initially proposed a blanket mandatory contribution covering both active personnel and new entrants which was opposed by MUP officials. The current economic team, led by his successor Ralph Recto, now backs the proposed Senate measure on MUP pension reform that only requires mandatory contributions from new entrants to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other uniformed services.

The revival of both the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and National Service Training Program (NSTP) is one of the priority legislations of the Marcos administration, earning flak from youth groups for perpetuating the culture of violence in universities and colleges.

Before the end of 2022, the Lower House approved a measure that will establish instead a mandatory National Citizens Service Training (NCST) program and made the ROTC program as an option for students at the college level. 

In contrast to the House measure’s optional ROTC course, the counterpart bill in the Senate seeks to reinstate the mandatory ROTC. It is still pending second reading in the Upper Chamber though some senators remain confident that the measure will pass. 

Check the status of Marcos’ SONA promises related to the armed forces:


Check The Sources

Update 2024

On the unified MUP pension system



On the amendment of the National Defense Act of 1935



On the revival of the mandatory ROTC


Update 2023

Presidential Communications Office, 20 legislative measures approved for December 2023 passage in 2nd LEDAC meeting, July 5, 2023

Senate of the Philippines, Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation (May 15, 2023), May 15, 2023

On the Unified System of Separation, Retirement and Pension for MUPs

On the Mandatory ROTC and NSTP

On the amendment of the National Defense Act of 1935