Lawmaker pushes P2,000 pension for poor elderly

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Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. has filed a measure at the House of Representatives that seeks to increase by P2,000 the monthly pension of poor senior citizens who are 70 years old and above.

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House Bill 2653 aims to amend the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 that provides a P500 monthly stipend to indigent Filipinos 60 years old and above.

“We have to extend greater financial support to extremely deprived seniors who tend to be weaker and more vulnerable owing to their highly advanced age,” Campos said in batting for the swift passage of the bill.

“An allowance of P2,000 per month, or P24,000 per annum, would serve as a bigger helping hand to destitute seniors who are at least 70 years old, and who have absolutely no one else to turn to for financial aid,” he added.

He said Congress is supposed to review the monthly subsidy for impoverished seniors every two years. “Yet, we have not raised the pension in the last six years,” he said.

Campos’ proposal came as the national government prepares to spend some P17.94 billion next year for the P500 monthly allowance for seniors.

The amount, contained in the 2017 General Appropriations Act recently passed by Congres, is double the P8.71 billion that government is spending this year for the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens Program.

Funding has been doubled because government has also doubled the targeted senior citizen-beneficiaries, from 1.4 million this year to 2.8 million in 2017, according to a Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) report to Congress.

Under the law, the DSWD is mandated to ensure that the P500 monthly stipend is given directly to beneficiaries.

Indigent seniors refer to all Filipinos aged 60 and above who are without regular pension from the Social Security System or the Government Service Insurance System, or lacking permanent source of income, compensation, or regular and appropriate financial assistance from relatives.

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