Social Pension to benefit ‘poor’ senior citizens
BAGUIO CITY – The government’s new Social Pension Program intended for indigent senior citizens is eyeing release of cash grants to its beneficiaries beginning end of March. This was the pronouncement of Director Porfiria M. Bernardez during an orientation held recently here.Director Bernardez, who currently provides technical assistance to the National Social Pension Program at the DSWD Central Office said the program hopes to assist 3,566 senior citizens in the Cordillera this year from the list generated by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).
The DSWD has also assured that a validation with LGUs and senior citizens groups of potential beneficiaries is conducted to ensure that only deserving seniors are to be given their pensions.
The Social Pension program is part of provisions of Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizen’s Act of 2010. Under the program, pensioners will receive 500 pesos monthly on quarterly disbursement. Further, program guidelines provides that eligible pensioners will only be indigent senior citizens aged 77 years and above who are either sickly, frail, or with disabilities.
Director Bernardez said the cash grant may seem insufficient but it will be used “to augment the senior citizen’s financial needs for food, medicine, and other services.” Bernardez added the pensioners “should not also be accepting any pension” from other programs or regular support from relatives or their children.
Said pension will be disbursed through ATM accounts with the Landbank of the Philippines. For now, however, cash payouts will be made for this quarter as arrangements are still being finalized for the accounts of pensioners.
Director Bernardez also clarified that the program aims “to cover all indigent senior citizens even those aged 60-76 years old.” But with the limited budget for the year it can only cover those 77 years old and above.
The government has earmarked a total of 870 million pesos for the Social Pension Program in 2011.
Meanwhile, local chief executives and the DSWD also sat down to talk about the terms regarding the LGUs’ roles in implementing the program. A draft memorandum of agreement was presented in the meeting which was inputted by the LGU representatives.
The program will be monitored and implemented with the OSCA of each municipality and the social welfare offices across the region. ### Job David J. Manalang, Social Marketing Officer