House panel asked to ensure funding for increase in monthly social pension of elderly

Published March 7, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has urged the House Special Committee on Senior Citizens to ensure that there will be available funds to finance the proposed increase in the monthly social pension of senior citizens.

House of the Representatives (Facebook/ MANILA BULLETIN)
House of the Representatives (Facebook/ MANILA BULLETIN)

DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista asked Senior Citizens partylist  Rep. Francisco Datol Jr., chairman of the House panel,  to consult with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM)  on the availability of funds to cover the funding requirements of the proposed pension increase.

“The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) fully supports the intent of the 23 bills to increase the monthly social pension of indigent senior citizens so they can support their daily subsistence and medical needs,” he said in a letter dated Feb. 17 to Datol.

“Aside from the consolidation of these bills into one, may we also recommend the Committee to consult the Department of Budget and Management on the availability of funds to cover such increase,” Bautista said.

He noted that the DSWD Social Pension Program provides P500 monthly stipend to all indigent senior citizens 60 years old and above.

On Thursday,  March 5, the technical working group of the Datol panel, headed by Kabayan partylist Rep. Ron Salo met to consolidate the 23 measures seeking to expand the coverage and increase the amount of social pension to senior citizens.

Bayan Muna partylist Rep.  Carlos Isagani Zarate earlier asked Congress to increase the monthly social pension of the elderly from the current P500 to P1,000.

“Since 2010, walang dagdag ang P500 monthly na pension, ang panawagan po namin  ay dagdagan ang pension from P500, gawin itong at least P1,000 or maximum P2,000 a month sa mga elderly people at tanggalin na ang requirement ang makakatanggap lang ay kinoconsider na indigent,” he said.

(Since 2010, the P500 monthly pension has not been increased, our call is to increase the pension from P500, and make it at least P1,000 or maximum P2,000 a month for our elderly people and scrap the requirement that those who are qualified to receive the pension are considered as indigents .)

He explained that under the law, elderly people who are “frail, sickly and disabled” are entitled to receive the pension.

“Kahit senior citizens but if you are not frail, sickly, disabled, hindi ka puede tumanggap ng pension, discriminatory ito. Kaya gusto namin tanggalin namin ito,”  Zarate said.

(Even if you are a senior citizen, but you are not frail, sickly, disabled, you cannot receive the pension. This is discriminatory. That is why we want to remove this.)

“Kaya nananawagan tayo sa liderato ng Kamara lalo na may counterpart sa Senate na kagyat na ipasa na ang Expanded Social Pension Act na tinutulak sa House of Representatives,” he added.

(That is why we are calling on the leadership of House, especially that this bill has counterpart in Senate, to shepherd the immediate passage of the Expanded Social Pension Act in the House of Representatives.)

Bautista earlier noted that in  2019, almost 4 million senior citizens benefitted from the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens (SPISC).

Under the program,  qualified indigent senior citizens receive a monthly stipend of P500 to help augment their daily subsistence and other medical needs.

 
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