|SOCPEN PROVIDES. DSWD Bicol SocPen fieldworker validates indigent senior citizens in the city of Tabaco in Albay.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Bicol confirmed on Monday, January 22, 2024, in a radio interview that, effective this CY 2024, the increase of the stipend from PHP 500 to PHP 1,000 will be in effect.
Republic Act No. 11916, enacted into law in July 2022, stipulates a doubling of the monthly pension for impoverished senior citizens from P500 to P1,000, aiming to assist them further in coping with the effects of soaring inflation.
In an interview, Ms. Irah Jeanne B. Ego, Social Pension Program Regional Focal, said, “Ang mga benepisyaryo po ng Social Pension ay makakatanggap ng PHP 1,000.00 bawat buwan mula po sa dating PHP 500.00.”
Before the end of 2023, it was confirmed by DSWD Assistant Secretary for Strategic Communications, Romel Lopez, that the increased monthly stipend for social pensioners was already included in the 2024 budget of the agency.
The initiative to double the monthly pension of the indigent senior citizens seeks to mitigate the effects of elevated inflation, which have led to the escalation of prices for essential goods such as rice, a fundamental dietary staple for Filipino households. The increased pension also aims to provide augmentation for the medical needs of the senior citizens.
“May batayan o eligibility criteria po na sinusunod bago po mapabilang ang isang potential social pensioner sa programa,” Ego clarified.
Ms. Ego enumerated that the Social Pension Program of the agency sets eligibility requirements for its beneficiaries.
Qualified social pensioners will receive a total of PHP 6,000 per semestral payout. These eligible beneficiaries include indigent senior citizens who are frail, sickly, or have a disability, as well as those without regular income and support from their family or relatives.
Ms. Ego further mentioned that eligible senior citizens are those not receiving any pensions from the Social Security System (SSS), the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), the Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association, Inc. (AFPMBAI), or any other private insurance company.
During the recent Regional Development Council (RDC) held at NEDA Regional Office V, RD Norman S. Laurio explained “To ensure that the allocated slots available for indigent senior citizens are properly appropriated, we have our field staff who continuously conduct home visits and validation to endorse potential beneficiaries.”
Schedules for home visits to other municipalities and cities in the region are coordinated through the Local Social Welfare and Development Offices (LSWDOs) for them to further disseminate information to the beneficiaries.
The SocPen Program implementers request beneficiaries to stay at home and be within reach for them to be properly identified during validation.
In Bicol Region, there are a total of 288,155 total target senior citizens who are set to benefit from the recent mandate.