For almost three months starting from May to July 2014, Listahanan, also known as the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR), of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) conducted a special assessment for indigent senior citizens not yet included in the Listahanan’s database of poor household.
The special validation was held nationwide and I, being part of the National Household Targeting Unit of the DSWD Field Office Cordillera, served as one of the area supervisors in Abra.
Together with our hired enumerators and my colleagues at work, we went to all 27 municipalities of the province to assess around 1000indigent senior citizens who have been endorsed by the local government units and have received pension from the Social Pension Program as of December 2013 but are not yet included in the database of poor households. Since they were not yet part of the database, the pension was put on hold for the first and second quarters this year. The special assessment was held tolegitimize the resumption of pension to the senior citizens as required by the 2014 General Appropriations Act.
Among the social pensioners that we assessed were Lolo Florencio and Lola Petra Rosario of San Quintin, Abra. Though the couple has ten children, the couple lives on their own for quite some time now since all of their children have their respective families. Both of them are pensioners of the Social Pension Program but like other pensioners who were not on the dtabase, their pensions were put on hold.
For a living, the couple’s only source of income is by making barbeque sticks which they sell for fifty pesos for a thousand pieces.
“Iyon nalang ang kaya naming gawing mag-asawa pero dahil malabo na rin mga mata namin, konti nalang ang nagagawa namin. ‘Di talaga kasya lalo na at bumibili pa kami ng vitamins para kay Florencio,” shared Lola Petra, who is now 82 years old. Moreover, 81 year old Lolo Florencio has now difficulty in hearing and speaking.
“Sa konting kinikita naming mag-asawa, talagang ‘di kasya. Kaya malaking tulong ang naibibigay ng Social Pension lalo na sa pambili ng gamot ng asawa ko,” said Lola Petra.
For the third quarter, the couple, as well as all the assessed indigent senior citizens, was able to receive their grants under the Social Pension.
Under the Social Pension, the capacity of indigent senior citizens to meet their daily subsistence and medical requirements is being augmented by the Government and are being protected from neglect, abuse and deprivation, as mandated by the Republic Act No. 9994 or Expanded Seniors Citizens Act 2010.
With the Social Pension Program, indigent senior citizens who are frail, sickly or with disability and without pension or permanent source of income or regular support from his/her relatives to meet his/her basic needs as determined by Listahanan, receive monthly stipend worth Php 500 to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of the indigent senior citizens.
The Social Pension Program is currently releasing the stipend for the third quarter to its 14,362 beneficiaries in the region, a fitting tribute to the celebration of the Elderly Filipino Week (October 1-7, 2014) with this year’s theme, “Ang nakatatanda ay yaman, katuwang sa pag-unland ng bayan, pangalagaan kanilang kapakanan.”
For us who were directly involved in the assessment, it was indeed a fulfilling experience to be able to help our indigent senior citizens in some ways. Through the assessment, some 3,000 senior citizens throughout the region are now able to resume their grant acceptance from the program. #DSWD-CAR, Social Marketing Unit with Kaye Ann O. Mapalo