Mayor Lazatin lauds Senate’s move to increase Social Pension of Indigent Senior Citizens

IT IS the responsibility of the government to ensure that the needs of its citizens, most especially the vulnerable sector, is being met to afford them a decent quality of life. In 2019, there are 3,796,791 indigent senior citizens all over the country.

These are 3,796,791 individuals who are struggling to meet their needs for basic commodities and healthcare due to lack of permanent source of income since they can no longer work fully and seek gainful employment. The numerous benefits and privileges for senior citizens at present in the country can only be availed consistently from merchants in malls and big service providers, which our indigent senior citizens cannot afford to go to due to higher prices of goods in these establishments.

These discounts are mostly not available in the neighborhood stores and in their local wet markets. Thus, the rising cost of living and the added financial burden brought about by the present pandemic has taken a toll on our indigent senior citizens.

To address their pressing needs, Senate President Vicente Tito Sotto III filed Senate Bill No. 2243 to provide an additional financial assistance to indigent senior citizens, amending Republic Act No. 7432 entitled “An Act To Maximize The Contribution of Senior Citizens to Nation Building, Grant Benefits and Special Privileges…” This is in the form of a monthly stipend amounting to an additional Five Hundred Pesos (P500.00) from the current social pension, for a total of One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00). This will aid our indigent senior citizens defray the cost of daily subsistence and other medical needs, Sotto said.

Angeles City Mayor Carmelo Pogi Lazatin Jr. released the One Thousand Pesos (P1,000.00) annual social pension and Vitamin C supplement for 55,000 registered senior citizens last year. This year’s pension and other benefits are expected to be released as well in time for the Senior Citizens Octoberfest. Chief Adviser and Tactician IC Calaguas has articulated that these mandatory benefits are chargeable to the city’s coffers to augment the DSWD counterpart fund. Executive Assistant IV Reina Manuel said the social pension is a monetary grant collaboratively shelled out by the national and city governments to support the daily subsistence and medical needs of indigent senior citizens, anchored to Mayor Lazatin’s major priority agenda amid the raging pandemic. Related to this development, OSCA (Office of Senior Citizens Affairs) Chief Eduardo Torres and City Social Welfare Development (CSWD) Officer Joy Duaso in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 3 has reportedly released earlier the Five Hundred Pesos (P500.00) social pension for more than 900 indigent senior citizens.

The Sotto Bill also provides assistance such as Employment. “Private entities that will employ senior citizens as employees, upon the effectivity of this Act, shall be entitled to an additional deduction from their gross income, equivalent to fifteen percent (15%) of the total amount paid as salaries and wages to senior citizens, subject to the provision of Section 34 of the NIRC, as amended: Provided, however that such employment shall continue for a period of at least six (6) months: Provided, further that the annual income of the senior citizen does not exceed the latest poverty threshold as determined and PUBLISHED by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).” Moreover the same bill also prescribes Social Safety Nets. “Social safety assistance intended to cushion the effects of economic shocks, disasters, and calamities shall be available for senior citizens. The social safety assistance which shall include, but not limited to food, medicines, and financial assistance for domicile repair, shall be sourced from the disaster/calamity funds of local government units (LGUs) where the senior citizens reside, subject to the guidelines to be issued by the DSWD, and the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC).”

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