PHOTO: DSWD SocPen field staff assists a potential social pensioner in filling out forms during monitoring and validation visit.


BICOL – The Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office V (DSWD FOV), as the leading advocate for the social protection of indigent senior citizens, released a total of PHP 1,325,859,000.00 in 2023.


Implemented under Republic Act (RA) 9994, the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens (SPIC) Program provides a monthly stipend of PHP 500 to qualified individuals. Regional Director Norman S. Laurio emphasized that the stipend supplements beneficiaries’ daily expenses and medical needs.


“Elderly citizens who are entitled to the social pension program of DSWD are those who are indigent, sick, disabled, frail, have no regular or permanent source of income, receive no financial assistance from family members or relatives, and do not receive any other pensions from the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, or other institutions,” he discerned.




In 2023, the Field Office has a total target of 288,155 social pensioners all over the region. During the first semester, 283,101 beneficiaries were served with a total amount of PHP 849,303,000.00. For the second semester, a total of 158,852 social pensioners were able to receive their monthly stipends with a total amount of PHP 476,556,000.00 as of date.


In an interview, Ms. Irah Jeanne B. Ego, Social Welfare Officer II and SocPen Program Focal person, clarified that there are still ongoing payouts for SocPen in the region.


“Isinama po sa mga payout ngayong second semester ang mga unclaimed stipends from the first semester. Kaya po may mga bene[ficiaries] po na PHP 6,000.00 ang narereceive sa payout,” she reiterated.


(Those pensioners who were not able to receive their social pension for the first semester were able to claim during the second semester payout. This is the reason why there are pensioners claiming PHP 6,000 during our payouts this semester.)




Through the continuous efforts on validation of the SocPen field workers, a total of 64,023 senior citizens were already waitlisted as of 19 December, 2023. A total of 6,198 social pensioners were delisted from the program.


“Ang waitlisted po ay paunti-unti natin silang isini-serve. However, for Bicol Region [as is] po ang ating target for 2024. Kumukuha po tayo sa waitlisted to replace ang mga delisted,” Ms. Ego clarified.


(We gradually serve our waitlisted social pensioners as they replace those who have been delisted.)


Additionally, RD Laurio shed light that as much as the Department would like to cater all indigent citizens, DSWD Bicol only work on the budget allocation of PHP 1,728,930,000.00 for the program this is why our workers are doing field validation to ensure that prioritization of the most qualified indigent senior citizens is being observed.


“Ito po ang dapat maintindihan ng lahat that due to limited target, nakadepende talaga ang beneficiaries na nasiserve ng programa sa [number of] slots per munisipyo,” he explained.


(Due to a limited target, the number of beneficiaries served by the program really depends on the [number of] slots per municipality.)




The Field Office is also coming up with various strategies to ensure that waitlisted beneficiaries are also served after validation.


“We intensify partnership with our local government unit (P/M/CLGUs). During our technical assistance and monitoring visits, we advocate to them that replication of Social Pension program locally, as this addresses the concern about waitlisted eligible social pensioners,” RD Laurio pointed out.


In the Bicol region, among the 114 Local Government Units (LGUs), only nine LGUs have replicated the initiative and earmarked funds for the 57,662 senior citizens on the waitlist while they are still not part of the agency’s regular SocPen program.


Adopting and executing a successful SocPen program for economically disadvantaged senior citizens at the Local Government Unit (LGU) level aims to cater to and offer financial assistance to vulnerable elderly citizens who may lack alternative sources of income or social security.


DSWD Bicol remains dedicated to fostering a community where everyone has the opportunity to lead a dignified life. DSWD’s SocPen program is a testament to the agency’s commitment prioritizing and promoting elderly welfare through provision of fund augmentation that will sustain their life basic needs.