DAVAO CITY ---With the Php P8,213,646,000.00 billion allotted budget for this year, more poor older persons will benefit from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens.
“The Social Pension Program is one of the provisions under Section 5 of Republic Act 9994, otherwise known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, which provides Php 500 monthly stipend to senior citizens to augment their daily subsistence and other medical needs,” DSWD Regional Director Mercedita P. Jabagat said.
“We value our older persons and we know it gives them great comfort knowing there is a pension they can count on for the rest of their life,” Director Jabagat added.
For pensioner Pepe Lino, 85, of Don Marcelino town, Davao Occidental, his pension has helped them meeting their basic needs.
“Dili nako kinahanglan pa mangayo sa akoang mga anak kay sila pud naglisod kay naa naman pud sila sariling pamilya ug kining pension nako nakatabang gyud sa akoa ug akoang asawa nga dili na kaayo kalakaw (I don’t have to ask any support from my children anymore because they are hard up too, having families of their own, and this pension I receive would really help me and my wife who can now hardly walk).”
Lino has 13 children. He was a banana farmer three years before the social pension came.
Priority beneficiaries of the Social Pension are senior citizens who are frail, sickly and disabled, without a regular source of income and/or support from any member of the family, and not receiving other pension benefits from government and private agencies. The DSWD Listahanan database of poor families is being used as reference in identifying potential social pensioners.
“Ang amoang pension ginapalit namo sa maintenance nga mga tambal, apil pud gatas ug pagka-on. Mao ra man amoang kinahanglan (We use our pension to purchase our maintenance medicines as well as milk and food. These are just what we need),” shared Lourdes Mandaguio, 87, of Barangay Dadong, Tarragona, Davao Oriental.
Lourdes and her husband Martin, 92, are both social pensioners who conveyed their happiness for the cash assistance they get quarterly which is delivered right at their doorstep by the municipal social welfare office since Martin has been paralyzed five years ago.
“When funds for the social pension were downloaded to our municipality beginning in 2013, we initiated to deliver the cash assistance to the homes of those who are unable come during payout due to health and physical limitations,” Tarragona Municipal Social Welfare Officer Noraflor P. Lague said.
“This scheme is more convenient for our older persons who have difficulty in traveling and also to ensure that they will receive what is really due them,” Lague added.
For 2016, DSWD nationwide targets to provide social pension to some 1,368,941 indigent older persons. From this number, Davao Region will serve 82,531 with a budget of Php 495,186,000.00 million. (DSWD/Florame B. Espada)