733 poor senior citizens get social pension

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Social Welfare Secretary Virginia Orogo led national government officials in the distribution of social pension to 733 indigent senior citizens from different communities in this city, a move that would lessen the impact of increasing prices of basic commodities including medicines to the poor.

For Central Luzon alone, Orogo said the government is targeting around 3 million indigent senior citizens beneficiaries for three-year program of the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT). The fund was taken from the Train Law Tax.

SOCIAL PENSION. Department of Social Welfare and Development and other top government officials join DSWD during the ceremonial distribution of Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) for indigent senior citizens held at Waltermart in Barangay San Agustin, City of San Fernando on Friday (June 15). LandBank first vice presidet Sylvia Lim (far right), DSWD Asec Noel Macalalad, DOF Asec Tony Lambino, DSWD Asec Jonas Soriano, Cong. Dakila “Daks” Cua, chairman Committee on Ways and Means, DSWD Sec. Virginia Orogo, DSWD Asec. Florita Villar and other guests. (Jess Malabanan)

“For the entire country, the DSWD has accounted 10 million indigent senior citizens who will be receiving P2,400 cash social pension each for the whole year of 2018 or equivalent to P200 per month,” said Orogo during the ceremonial cash transfer held at the Waltermart in Barangay San Agustin here Friday.

SOCIAL PENSION. An elderly woman receives her P2,400 social pension from a Landbank teller during the ceremonial distribution of unconditional cash transfer (UCT) program of the government led by Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Friday (June 15) held at Waltermart, Barangay San Agustin, City of San Fernando. (Jess Malabanan)

Orogo however admitted that the P200 per month social pension is not enough to cover the expenses for medicines and other basic needs, but the government will not stop there as P100 will be added next year to make it P300 per month for every UCT beneficiary.

DoF Asec Tony Lambino serenades an elderly woman during the ceremonial distribution of unconditional cash transfer held at Waltermart, Barangay San Agustin, City of San Fernando on Friday, June 15, 2018. (Jess Malabanan

One of the beneficiaries is an 85-year old woman who was accompanied by relatives during the distribution of cash. She was the oldest among the batch of senior citizens who trooped to Waltermart at the height of the heavy downpour.

After receiving the cash pension, most of the beneficiaries queued to different restaurants inside the mall, others went to a nearby drug store where they bought their maintenance medicine and vitamins.

“I’m thankful for the government support for us seniors. Malaking tulong ito sa aming mahihiirap na senior citizen. Maraming salamat po Pangulong Duterte sa iyong malasakit sa aming mga matatanda,” said Lorenzo Dayrit, 72, of Narangay Sto. Rosario here.

Next year, Orogo said pensioners will be issued cash cards from LandBank where they can get their pension through automated teller machines. She said the government is targeting end of September to complete the distribution of UCTs in the entire country.

Sylvia Lim, LandBank first vice president, said a total of 37 ATMs are scattered in the entire Pampanga including Angeles City area where UCT beneficiaries can get their pension.

“LandBank welcomes UCT beneficiaries and we’re ready to serve them come June 30,” said Lim.

Orogo said simultaneous distribution of UCT social pension across the country is scheduled on June 30. She said the program is good for three years or until 2020.

Department of Finance Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino said the funds used for the social pension came from the P2-billion government savings from the TRAIN Law.

The government, Lambino said, has enough funds to cover funding requirement of different projects such as personal income tax (P12 billion); state colleges and universities (P3.5 billion); Unconditional Cash Transfer or social pension (P2 billion) and infrastructure (P15 billion) for a total of P32.5 billion.