Villanueva: Law doubling indigent seniors’ social pension a ‘great legacy of the 18th Congress’

Published August 2, 2022, 5:13 PM

by Mario Casayuran

The law increasing the P500 monthly social pension of 4.08 million indigent senior citizens to P1,000 is a ‘’great legacy of the 18th Congress”.

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva happily told his fellow senators in the plenary session Tuesday, Aug. 2 that the bill doubling the amount of monthly social pension of the indigent senior citizens was allowed by the Marcos administration to lapse into law as Republic Act (RA) 11916.

He said the development was “God’s blessing”, noting that Tuesday was his 47th birthday.

‘’Today is a testament to this abounding blessing because one of the ‘happy bills’, as you put it, Mr. President, which we have passed in the 18th Congress, is now a law,’’ he said. He was the author of the measure.

The new law, RA 11916 is just one of a long list of bills allowed to lapse into law by Malacañang based on a communication from the Palace to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.

‘’Let me add that among the laws we deliberated in the last Congress, this is the most memorable because we caught Covid-19 while discussing this measure,” he said.

The co-authors of the measure are Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, former Senate President Vicente Sotto II, Senator Bong Revilla, Senator Grace Poe, Senator Sonny Angara, Senator Risa Hontiveros, and Senator Nancy Binay.

’’As the saying goes, ‘We will all grow old one day.’ Another year has been added to my life today, and all the more we see the need to care for our ageing population, especially our beloved senior citizens,’’ Villanueva said.

Villanueva expects to get appropriations for the law with revenues from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) and firms operating under the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO).

After committee hearings, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) was able to collect some P19 billion from POGO firms out of their estimated P70 billion in unpaid taxes.

But the Department of Finance (DOF) expected P78 billion, he added.

The estimated funds needed for the doubling of indigent senior citizens’ social pension ranges from P22 billion to P24 billion.

Villanueva said that the consumer index since the expanded Senior Citizen Act was enacted in 2010 has risen to 38 percent.