111,504 social pensioners delisted in Region 12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/19 August) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has delisted at least 111,504 social pension beneficiaries in Region 12 due to eligibility and records-related concerns.

Cesario Joel Espejo, DSWD-Region 12 director, said the move is in line with the “cleansing” ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte on the beneficiary database of the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens.

He said their validation showed that there are beneficiaries in the region who have duplicate or double entries in their database.

Some were found ineligible as they are already receiving pension from other social security agencies, he said.

“This is part of our efforts to ensure that the program will benefit the rightful and eligible senior citizens or those who are really in need,” Espejo said in a media forum.

As of end-2018, DSWD-12 listed a total of 264,358 elderly or senior citizens who are receiving the P500 monthly social pension.

Following the delisting process, the agency said the total number of beneficiaries in the region has decreased to 152,854.

As part of the “cleansing,” Espejo said their personnel scrutinized the list of beneficiaries provided by local government units, through the social welfare units and the offices of senior citizens affairs.

He said they immediately removed the duplicate names as well as beneficiaries who already passed away.

The official said they also cross-matched their list with the pensioners’ records of the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System and the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.

Citing the program’s guidelines, those eligible to receive the social pension are elderly who are frail and weak, not receiving pension from other agencies and not getting any support from their children and relatives, he said.

Espejo said the delisted beneficiaries were no longer included in the semestral payout of the social pension starting the first semester of 2019.

He said they started in the last week of June the release of the P500 monthly social pension or a total of P3,000 per semester to beneficiaries in the region.

The agency is targeting to finish the payouts for the first semester pension by the end of September, he added. (MindaNews)