A 101-year-old Social Pension beneficiary from Brgy. Bagong San Roque, Sto. Domingo, Albay receives the stipend handed-over by the Local Social Welfare and Development Office (LSWDO) personnel.

Legazpi City— The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has started releasing funds to the local government units (LGUs) of the Bicol Region for its Social Pension program.

DSWD Field Office V  Regional Director Arnel Garcia announced that the office has already transferred funds for the program to the provinces of Camarines Sur, Albay and Catanduanes intended for 134,962 Social Pensioners. While for the other provinces, the agency is still awaiting the download of the notice of cash allocation from DSWD Central Office.

Each beneficiary will receive Php 3,000 equivalent to a six month-stipend for the first semester of 2020 covering January to June.

“We are distributing in advance the stipend for indigent senior citizens to help them sustain their needs especially in this time of pandemic, ” DSWD Regional Director Arnel Garcia said.

Director Garcia urged the senior citizens to stay at home and wait for the assistance to be given to them. He said that the schedule of payouts will be coordinated by the LGUs through the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in their respective areas.

In the Bicol region, 241,510 active Social Pension beneficiaries will benefit from the assistance.

As indicated in the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 or RA 9994, the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens is a provision of a monthly stipend in the form of outright cash amounting to Php 500 which aims to improve the condition of indigent senior citizens by augmenting their daily subsistence and medical needs. An eligible beneficiary is an elderly who is frail, sickly or with a 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.

Meanwhile, DSWD clarified that a family with a Social Pension beneficiary may also be a recipient of the agency’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) subject to the validation process of the LSWDO if the family meets the qualifications set by the program.

“The cash aid under the Social Pension is solely for the senior citizen while the cash subsidy under SAP is intended for families who belong to either the poor or the informal sector not earning a living during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ),” explained Garcia.

 As the lead agency for social protection, DSWD ensures the provision of safety nets to the most affected families in this time of public health emergency.

 With the passage of Republic Act (RA) no. 11469, otherwise known as the “Bayanihan to Heal as One  Act of 2020”, an intensified government response is adopted wherein various government agencies such as DTI, DILG, DOLE, DA, DOF, and DBM are implementing social protection programs, projects and services to mitigate the effects of the declaration of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).##crbarrameda