BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) recently approved a resolution supporting RDC 11 resolution proposing the increase of the monthly social pension of indigent senior citizens from P500 to P1,000.
The RDC-CAR resolution stated the concern on the insufficiency of the social pension provided to the region’s 70,287 identified indigent senior citizens as of January 2016 was raised numerous times by both representatives of senior citizens organizations and concerned government agencies in the Cordillera.
In the Cordillera, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that as of the first semester of 2015, a minimum monthly take-home pay of P1,278 is needed by an individual to meet his or her daily basic food needs.
Earlier, the RDC of Davao Region (RDC XI) recognizing that the amount of P500 monthly is not sufficient to support the indigent senior citizens’ daily subsistence and medical needs, passed a resolution ‘supporting the social development committee XI proposal to increase the social pension of indigent senior citizens from P500 to P1,000, and requested all other Regional Development Councils in the country to support the said proposal.
Republic Act (RA) 9994, otherwise known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act, seeks to improve the total well-being of the elderly and their full participation in society by providing, among others, monthly stipend or social pension amounting to P500 monthly to each indigent senior citizens to augment their daily subsistence and other medical requirements.
Under the guidelines for the social pension, senior citizens who are 70 years old and above and without guaranteed income are entitled to the P500 per month stipend which will be released by the concerned social welfare and development offices to the beneficiaries on a quarterly basis. For those who are bed-ridden, the concerned social workers will deliver to the residence of the beneficiary the stipend in order to also monitor whether or not the beneficiary is still alive and to guarantee the continuous grant of the benefits to them.
Among the reasons being vouched by the concerned sectors for the proposed increase in the amount of stipend for the indigent senior citizens are the increase in the prices of basic commodities triggered by the increase in the price of oil, the escalation in the living condition of people, the increase in the prices of medicines used by senior citizens and the increase in the inflation rate.
According to a number of senior citizens who had been receiving the P500 monthly stipend from the government, the amount being granted to them is no longer enough as this is no longer enough to purchase their medicines and basic needs, thus, the need for the concerned government agencies to review their criteria in pegging the amount for the social pension and subsequently approve its eventual increase to at least P1000 per month so that the assistance will surely go a long way in addressing their basic needs and medicines used for maintenance.
By Dexter A. See