DSWD personnel visit senior citizen beneficiaries of the Social Pension Program who are unable to attend scheduled cash payouts due to physical difficulties and directly deliver their cash stipend (File photo)

In a significant move towards supporting senior citizens, the Department of Social Welfare and Development – Field Office Cordillera Administrative Region (DSWD FO CAR) is preparing for the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 11916 stipulates that the stipend provided to indigent senior citizens should not be less than One thousand pesos (PhP 1,000.00) to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of indigent senior citizens. 

The General Appropriations Act (GAA) for Fiscal Year 2024 include a substantial amount of Php 49,807,085,000.00 for the enhancement of funds allocated for the stipends of almost four million beneficiaries of indigent senior citizens in the entire Philippines.

The distribution of these funds, through the Social Pension Program is expected to commence in first semester of 2024, with each beneficiary receiving a Php 1,000.00 with a total six thousand pesos (PhP 6,000.00) per semester.

“The DSWD FO CAR is currently preparing all necessary documents and refining its existing system to manage the increase of stipend to the 110,554 active beneficiaries of the Social Pension Program for 2024.” DSWD OIC Regional Director and Concurrent ARD for Operations Enrique H. Gascon Jr. said. 

Based on DSWD guidelines, to be eligible for the Social Pension program, individuals must be 60 years old and above, frail and sickly, have no pension from other government sources such as GSIS, PVAO, SSS and other private insurance companies. Additionally, they should have no regular source of income or support from family or relatives to cover their basic needs. 

Meanwhile, the DSWD and National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) are still in the process of conducting consultation and meetings to facilitate the smooth transition of the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens (SPISC), including the Centenarians Program as mandated by RA 10868 otherwise known as the Centenarian Act of 2016, which grants cash gifts amounting to one hundred thousand pesos (Php 100,000.00) to Filipinos who reached 100 years old in which was already started on the second semester of the year 2022. 

As the transition is still on going, the DSWD remains committed to providing appropriate services and interventions to older people such as encouraging all senior citizens to register in their respective localities. This proactive step will facilitate collaboration among the commission, Local Government Units, and National Government Agencies to create additional services and programs. These initiatives aim to maximize the full potential of senior citizens even during their golden years. 

“We strongly urge all eligible senior citizens to actively participate and take advantage of existing programs of the government created for all the senior citizens, irrespective of their affiliation with the Barangay Senior Citizens Association, are urged to visit their respective Local Social Welfare and Development Office. This visit will allow them to undergo an assessment to determine their eligibility for the Social Pension Program. Social workers will also provide guidance on the alternative government programs and services available to support our senior citizen. We are committed to ensuring that every senior citizen receive the assistance and information they need.” Dir. Gascon emphasized.

Distribution of one thousand pesos (PhP 1,000.00) per month stipend under the Social Pension Program will begin upon the release of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). DSWD FIELD OFFICE CAR, SOCIAL MARKETING UNIT, HAZEL ANN BUY-O.

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