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  • The San Juan Daily Star

Lawmaker lauds enactment of law to fund police retirement

Rep. José Rivera Madera

By The Star Staff

Rep. José “Cheito” Rivera Madera said Thursday that Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia took an affirmative step in providing stability to public officials when he enacted a law that provides a dignified retirement to police officers.

Rivera Madera’s proposal surpassed the scrutiny of both legislative branches, as well as the executive branch, which makes it possible to strengthen the retirement system of police officers, “so that these public servants of transcendent need in our country can obtain dignified treatment with a reasonable pension,” the legislator said.

The provision contemplates filling the police retirement fund, a request that both active and retired public safety members have been demanding for decades, even more so after the approval of Act 3 of 2013, which substantially reduced pensions.

“That the police receive fair compensation in their retirement was a matter of justice and rights acquired based on a life of dedication to a service of so much risk and sacrifice,” Rivera Madera said. “Today we can all celebrate that such a noble measure has been achieved that will combat the poverty to which these officials were assigned in their retirement age, ensuring with this fund a minimum of 50% retirement, as announced by the governor. They will no longer have to juggle and continue working at ages where they should be resting after a lifetime of work.”

The implementation of the Police Retirement Fund Law will allow the collection of part of the proceeds from the “Road Games of Chance Machines” (slot machines) that operate throughout the island outside of casinos, in order to strengthen police retirement funding without imposing increases or additional taxes. The plan identified and proposed by the legislator also contemplates the implementation of regulatory control mechanisms for this activity through an interconnected technological system.

“It was a human duty and primary responsibility to align ourselves with the well being of all public servants after their retirement, since it is not fair that after 25, 30 or 35 years of service, of giving their years of youth and adulthood to the people, they retire to live in poverty,” Rivera Madera said. “That denigrates the country that allows it.”

The legislator thanked the governor for having promoted the well being of this labor sector, as claimed and described in the text of the measure that is now law.

“This is evidence that we can advance initiatives that benefit the labor and economic sectors of our country, charting a better future for all tempered by the demands of the increase in the cost of living,” he said.

The law, meanwhile, must address the standardization of the maximum number of machines that a business can operate in order to avoid the possible proliferation, as is the case at present, of illegal casinos and their improper and unequal activity, as well as setting a minimum distance from establishments that operate slot machines in relation to schools, educational centers and hotels that operate casinos.

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