P700 million released to seniors in Region 12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 6 Dec) – The government has released over P700 million in cash grants in the past 11 months to indigent senior citizens in Region 12.

Cezario Joel Espejo, director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Region 12, said Friday they already covered a total of 155,819 senior citizens or 78 percent of the total 199,856 in the entire region who are qualified to receive the social pension.

He said released grants already covered the second semester benefits, set at P500 a month, of the eligible senior citizens.

The agency has been releasing the social pension every three months or quarterly basis at P1,500 each.

Espejo said the distributed grants have so far reached a total of P708.7 million.

In coordination with the local government units, he said they have fast-tracked the releases of the cash grants for the other senior citizens.

“We are working to finish the distribution of the pension for the remaining 22 percent before the year ends,” he said in a statement.

Labinia Banes, DSWD-12 focal person for the social pension program, acknowledged that the distribution of the grants was delayed due to the cleansing of the list of beneficiaries nationwide.

She advised recipients who have not yet received their social pension to coordinate with the local Office of Senior Citizens Affairs for the schedule of the releases.

In August, DSWD-12 said it delisted some 124,945 beneficiaries in Region 12 and in Cotabato City, which is now part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, due to eligibility and other related problems.

The agency’s validation showed that there were beneficiaries who have duplicate or double entries in their database while some were found ineligible as they were already receiving pension from other social security agencies. (MindaNews)