Cordillera Administrative Region– The Regional Program Management Office (RPMO) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens here has re-iterated the important role of Senior Citizens particularly the members of the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) and Federation of Senior Citizens Association of the Philippines (FSCAP) in safeguarding the Social Pension Program from “epal” politicians who might take advantage of it.

DSWD-CAR Regional Director Janet P. Armas said that the senior citizens will serve as the watchdog of the Department in ensuring that no political interests will be pushed using the Social Pension Program. “With the upcoming elections in 2016, it is very important that our senior citizens in the communities will take active participation in identifying and validating the list of possible social pensioners submitted to the Field Office”, Director Armas shared.

As per amendment of the implementing guidelines of the Social Pension Program, pensioners are identified by the Local Social Welfare and Development Officers (LSWDOs) in coordination with the OSCA and FSCAP. This procedure was implemented in observance of Republic Act No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 which mandates the provision of additional benefits and privileges and institutionalization of social protection by providing monthly stipend to indigent senior citizens as support to the family in providing care to their sick and disabled senior citizens. Indigent senior citizens who are 65 years old and above are now covered by the said Program.

With this, the number of social pensioners in the region has increased to 33,665 for CY 2015 comparing from last year’s record having 14,362 social pensioners only. A total amount of 201,990,000.00 pesos is allotted to be disbursed to social pensioners all over the Cordillera region this year.

Furthermore, Social Pension Program Focal Person Carol U. Habawel asked the assistance of the LSWDO, FSCAP and/ or OSCA in informing the social pensioners on the schedule of pay-outs. “For 2014, we have recorded 99% disbursement of funds for the program. This means that we have already released 99% of the pensions, but we want to reach 100% disbursement because we know that the grant is greatly needed by our pensioners. Informing our pensioners on the availability of the grants will help them in claiming their stipends”. She further explained that unclaimed social pensions for 2014 will be returned to the National Treasury.

The Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizen is in line with the fulfillment of the obligation of the government to protect the most vulnerable sector of the community who are the senior citizens characterized as frail, sickly or with disability and without pension or permanent source of income or regular support from his family and relatives to meet his basic needs.

For more details and information on the Social Pension Program, visit the DSWD – CAR Office at #40 North Drive, Baguio City or the Local Social Welfare and Development Offices in your respective areas or call (+6374) 444-32-09.# DSWD-CAR, Social Marketing Unit, Nerizza Faye G. Villanueva with Shane A. Awacan (UC Intern)

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