NAPC: Senior Citizens should receive P1,500 a month, not P500

Published January 25, 2022, 2:16 PM

by Mario Casayuran

A member of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) on Tuesday, Jan. 25 strongly suggested that the current P500 monthly pension for some 10 million senior citizens should be increased to P1,500 monthly.

Salvacion Basciano, a member of the Senior Citizens Council of NAPC, said this is more practical for the government instead of a proposal to raise the current P500 monthly pension where there are 3.8 million indigent senior citizens .

There are six bills filed in the Senate seeking a P1,000 monthly pension for the elderly.

In a hybrid public hearing by the Senate committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development presided by Senator Joel Villanueva, Basciano said that should the social pension become a Universal Pension, or all señor citizens be given a pension, it would resolve the issue of influence peddling and politicalization because all would be given a pension.

It was explained that it would be easier to channel the pension to a digital banking system as it would no longer pass through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) where corruption might be committed.

This will also reduce the hospitalization of senior citizens as they have enough money for their medicines and food.

Basciano estimated that government would have to source P180 billion if the recommended P1,500 monthly pension as Universal Pension is adopted.

The flow of more funds to senior citizens has a rippling effect on the economy as the money finds its way to the purchase of medicines and food.

The current government rollout in monthly pensions to senior citizens is P25 billion.

‘’For the past two years of pandemic, Villanueva said the almost 12 million senior citizens are the most vulnerable because of their comorbidities, especially they have no source of income if they got infected with COVID-19.

“The pandemic highlighted the need to increase the monthly stipend of indigent senior citizens. P500 is really very small, especially if we take into account the inflation rate from the time the social pension was introduced in 2010 that caused skyrocketing of prices of basic necessities,” Villanueva said, as he stressed the need to increase the pension plan to P1,000, amending Republic Act 9994 or Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.