The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released P1.2 billion to boost the government’s assistance to indigent senior citizens.
In a statement on Tuesday, the DBM said the P1.2-billion fund will benefit a total of 200,000 elderly indigents aged 65 and above.
Indigent senior citizens are defined under Republic Act (RA) 9994 as “any elderly who is frail, sickly or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs, as determined by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in consultation with the National Coordinating and Monitoring Board.”
The release was charged against the 2015 General Appropriations Act (GAA), under the DSWD’s P5.96-billion budget for Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens.
Through the pension fund, the government plans to support 939,609 indigent senior citizens this year.
Under Section 5 of RA 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, elderly indigents can receive additional government assistance in the form of the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, which amounts to a monthly stipend of P500.
“We crafted the 2015 budget to prioritize the poor and the vulnerable, including indigent senior citizens. This release will allow us to address the basic needs of our elderly indigents, who do not otherwise have the resources to support themselves,” DBM Secretary Florencio Abad said.
Prior to the release of P1.2 billion, the budget agency said the DSWD was required to furnish various documents, including the special budget requests with the support of a detailed Financial Plan, a Monthly Disbursement Program, a Physical Plan and other documentary requirements.
“It isn’t enough that the budget can support our indigent senior citizens. We also need to improve how government works so that the funds will actually go straight to the beneficiaries. In working closely with our agencies and helping them improve their budget and project plans, we can make public spending more transparent and accountable,” Abad said.