Press Release
May 23, 2022

Increased Social Pension for Senior Citizens Senator Joel Villanueva

Mr. President and distinguished colleagues:

I am truly honored to sponsor as Subcommittee Chairperson of the Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, together with the Committee on Finance, the Bill increasing the Social Pension of Senior Citizens.

May I state for the record that this representation was designated by Senator De Lima, the Chairperson of the Committee on Social Justice, to conduct and preside the hearing on the eight (8) Social Pension bills last January 24, 2022.

Masigasig pong isinulong ng ating mga kasamahan dito sa Senado ang dagdag na social pension para sa ating mga lolo at lola - Senate President Tito Sotto (SB 1267), Senator Grace Poe (SB 126), Senator Sonny Angara (SB 133), Senator Kiko Pangilinan (SB 259), Senator Nancy Binay and Senator Leila De Lima (SB 570), Senator Bong Revilla (SB 1267) and Senator Risa Hontiveros (SB 160).

We observed the firm stance of our stakeholders from the hearing attended by our colleagues Senator Risa Hontiveros and Senator Nancy Binay, Congressman Ompong Ordanes of the Senior Citizen Party List and the Chairman of the House Special Committee on Senior Citizens, government officials from DSWD, DBM, and the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC), and representatives from the Coalition of Services of the Elderly, and Senior Citizens Sectoral Council.

We are all in agreement that the current P500.00 monthly allowance is not enough to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of our indigent Senior Citizens.

Ang halaga pong ito ay naisabatas labing-isang taon na ang nakalilipas sa bisa ng Republic Act No. 9994 o ang "Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010". Ang limandaang piso noon ay hindi na po kasinhalaga ng limandaang piso ngayon.

Sa mga indigent senior citizens po na nakausap natin, lalo na po nitong nakaraang kampanya, halos lahat po sila ay nagsasabing kulang na kulang ang five hundred pesos dahil napupunta lang ito sa kanilang maintenance medicine tulad ng losartan, amlodipine at iba't ibang mga vitamin at food supplement.

Mr. President, the pandemic highlighted the need to increase the monthly stipend of indigent senior citizens. Five hundred pesos is really very small especially if we take into account the increase of prices over the past decade.

In fact, RA 9994 provides that the amount of the monthly stipend to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of senior citizens shall be subject to a review every two (2) years by Congress,in consultation with the DSWD.

Mr. President, based on the 2020 Census of Population and Housing, there were 12,336,355 Filipinos aged 60 years old and above which is 11.31 percent of the country's estimated total population of 109,035,343.

Kung tutuusin, isa po sa kada sampung Pilipino ay may edad animnapu pataas. Subalit nais po nating linawin na iyon lamang pong mga "indigent" gaya ng nakasaad na sa eligibility criteria ng DSWD ang makakatanggap. Sila po ang mga lolo at lola natin na:

  •  Frail, sickly or with disability;

  •  No pension from the Government and Private Institutions like GSIS, SSS, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office(PVAO), Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association, Inc. (AFBMBAI) or any other insurance company;

  •  No permanent source of income; and

  • No regular support from family or relatives for his/her basic needs.

Kung ibabatay po natin sa datos ng DSWD, aabot sa mahigit 3.8 milyon ang indigent Filipinos aged 60 and over. Sa P500 kada buwan, nasa P23.6 bilyon ang kasalukuyang allotment para sa social pension kada taon. Para sa bansang labis ang pagpapahalaga sa ating mga lolo at lola, hindi naman po siguro kalabisan kung dodoblehin ang allotment na ito kada taon.

Mr. President, with Senate Bill No. 2506, this representation hopes that our indigent senior citizens will receive an additional P500 or a total of P1,000 monthly pension allowance. This initiative serves as a small token of appreciation to show how we value our elders for their immeasurable contribution to our community.

Other than the increase in the social pension for senior citizens from P500 to P1,000, the bill also provides options other than cash payout for the pension to reach the target beneficiary. The transaction fee, if any, shall not be charged to the beneficiary.

Mr. President, the DSWD implements the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens since 2011 through the DSWD Field Offices using the most cost-effective and efficient mode of payment to deliver the stipend to the beneficiaries on a quarterly basis.

However, with the passage of Republic Act No. 11350 or the National Commission of Senior Citizens Act in 2019, we deem it appropriate to transfer this function from the DSWD to the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC). Maganda po na ang mangangasiwa sa pondo para sa mga indigent senior citizen ay ang mismong mga senior citizen din [Note: The members of the NCSC should be at least 60 years old at the time of their appointment.]

Mr. President, this measure is consistent with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) No. 1 to end poverty in all its forms everywhere and No. 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Article 13, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitutions also ensures that there shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women and children.

Let me end with a Bible verse from Psalm 71:9 "Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone."

I urge our colleagues' support for the passage of this measure. Maraming salamat po at pagpalain po tayo ng Panginoong Diyos.

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