P1B in social pension released to senior citizens in R-12

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/09 January) – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) had released over PHP1 billion in social pension to indigent senior citizens in Region 12 last year.

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 director, said a total of 163,740 senior citizens in the region’s four provinces and five cities received their PHP6,000 pension in full from January to December 2019.

He said the payouts for the remaining 58,260 beneficiaries based on the 222,000 qualified elderly in the region is still ongoing.

“We’re aiming to complete the release of the remaining unpaid pensions in the next two months,” he told reporters during the payout for beneficiaries in Koronadal City on Wednesday.

A total of 7,450 senior citizens received their PHP6,000 pension for the entire 2019 or PHP500 a month.

Espejo said the release of the pension was delayed due to the ongoing validation and cleansing of the program’s beneficiary database as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Since last year, DSWD-12 already delisted over 100,000 senior citizens due to duplicate or double entries in their database and for receiving pension from other social security agencies.

“We are asking for their patience and understanding. For those who have not yet received their grants, our staff will coordinate with your respective senior citizen presidents for the schedule of the releases,” he said.

Teresita Maglunob, 73, a resident of Barangay Sto. Nino in Koronadal City, said the released of their assistance was timely since she needs it to buy her maintenance medicines against hypertension.

“This is really a big help to us who are really in need of government assistance,” she said.

The DSWD handles the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, which provides for the release of monthly financial grants to poor senior citizens in the country.

Under RA 9994, the eligible beneficiaries are “any elderly who is frail, sickly or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs, as determined by the DSWD.” (MindaNews)