Press Release
September 15, 2010


During yesterday's Finance Committee hearing on the proposed budget for the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Senator Edgardo J. Angara questioned the 80 years old and above requirement for the agency's social pension.

According to the DSWD report, they raised the age of the beneficiaries of the indigent social pensions from 60 years old--equivalent to about 7M senior citizens, of which around 1.7M are eligible--to 80 years old, lowering the numbers to a more manageable 145,000. This is in addition to the established requirements: frail or sickly, no regular income and no regular financial assistance.

"Yung eligibility requirements ninyo--no family support, no financial means, frail and sickly--wala nang 80 year olds kapag ganyan ang conditions," Angara said bluntly.

When asked about the average life expectancy of Filipinos, the DSWD confirmed Angara's assumption. For the women, it was around 79 years, while the men had a lower life expectancy of about 76.

Angara, Vice Chair of the Finance Committee, also appealed to the agency to improve the wording of their rules to avoid future misunderstanding of a policy that is meant to be beneficial to the people.

"The law might not respond to the needs of the people they are created for simply because of improper wording. For example, the term 'financial assistance' should not disqualify them from availing of this pension, because we can't be sure that the help that they are receiving is sufficient for their basic needs," he explained.

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