Funding for higher social pension of indigent seniors guaranteed under 2023 GAA—Angara

Senator Sonny Angara on Friday, January 27 assured that funding for higher social pension for indigent senior citizens is ensured under the P5.268-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2023.

Angara assured some 4.1 million indigent seniors stand to receive P12,000 each in social pension this year with the full implementation of Republic Act 11916, for their daily subsistence and medical needs.

A total of P50-billion was provided under the GAA for the social pension for indigent seniors; the amount also covers the 100 percent increase in the monthly pension—from P500 to P1,000.

“Siniguro natin na mapopondohan sa 2023 budget ang pagtaas sa monthly social pension ng ating mga indigent senior citizens (We have ensured that the increase in the monthly social pension of our indigent senior citizens will be funded in the 2023 budget),” Angara said in a statement.

“Sinulong natin ang dagdag sa pension nila lalo na at ang mga lolo at lola na makikinabang dito ay wala talagang ipon o sustento galling sa kanino man (We pushed for an increase in their pension, especially since the grandparents who will benefit from this do not have any savings or sustenance from anyone),” he further said.

First introduced in 2010, the social pension for indigent senior citizens is an additional government assistance program under R.A. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizen’s Act.

The Expanded Senior Citizens law amended the original Senior Citizen’s Act or R.A. 7432 to provide more benefits for Filipinos aged 60 and above, including the grant of a 20 percent discount on the purchase of certain goods and services such as medicines.

The law also provides a special five (5) percent discount on prime commodities and basic necessities, and an exemption from the value added tax (VAT) on the sale of goods and services.

Angara’s father, the late former Senate President Edgardo Angara, authored both laws and has since been known as the “Angara Law” in recognition of his role in the shaping of these landmark legislations.

The senator said it is necessary for the government to sustain its programs for senior citizens, particularly to those who are very poor.

“Close to 10 percent of all Filipinos aged 65 and above are living alone. Many are not so lucky as to have savings to get them through their twilight years and there are a lot more who have no relatives who will take care of them,” Angara said.

“As such it is necessary for the government to continuously find ways to take care of our elderly, who are especially vulnerable to poverty,” he further said.