Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez has found an ally in his advocacy to double the monthly pension of senior citizens from P500 to P1,000, especially in this time of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our indigent senior citizens need all the help they can get especially during this pandemic. Malaking tulong kung madagdagan natin ang monthly pension nila na sa kasalukuyan ay kakarampot lang (Augmenting their pension, which is currently a measly amount, would be of great help to them)," Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles said in a statement.
Nograles, an assistant majority floor leader, said he would coordinate with Rodriguez, the author of House Bill No. 7266, which seeks to amend the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 (Republic Act 9994). Both are lawyers, aside from being colleagues at the House of Representatives.
If granted, it is expected that the bigger allowance would be used by seniors to purchase their most pressing needs such as medication for whatever nagging illness that they may have contracted over the years.
Aside from doubling the amount of monthly stipend that senior citizens receive, the bill also relaxes some provisions of the law so that more elderly Filipinos could qualify for the pension.
Currently, only senior citizens who are “frail, sickly, or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation, or financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs” as determined by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are qualified for the stipend.
Thus, only about 29 percent of 7.5 to 8 million senior citizens are covered by the government allowance.
“Aanyahahan din natin ang iba pa nating kapwa-mambabatas na suportahan ito (I will also ask my fellow lawmakers to support this),” Nograles said of the Rodriguez measure.
“We owe a great debt to our elderly who have contributed much to our nation-building efforts. It’s only right that we repay their sacrifices by providing the support that they need so they could live decently,” the Rizal solon added.