Senator Risa Hontiveros is pushing for an additional P4 billion in the 2018 budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) social pension for indigent senior citizens to cover another six hundred thousand senior citizens in next year’s appropriation law.
Hontiveros said that in the proposed 2018 National Government budget, the fund of the DSWD for its social pension for the elderly amounts to P19.2 billion covering 3 million senior citizens. However, she said that there are approximately 3.6M validated indigent senior citizens.
“This means that the 2018 budget is P4 billion short and six hundred thousand indigent senior citizens will be left behind. We cannot allow this to happen. I will make the appropriate budget intervention to correct this error,” the legislator said.
The lawmaker, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Finance, reiterated her call for a universal social pension fund for senior citizens.
In a press conference in Quezon City organized by the Coalition of Services for the Elderly (COSE), the senator said that there should be universality of social pension for senior citizens and immediately for the “most senior”, the indigent, and those who are not covered by the government’s existing pension packages.
“A universal social pension fund for senior citizens is not an act of charity. It is about recognition and empowerment. By investing in senior citizens, we recognize their contributions to society; we empower them to capably respond to the challenges of the aging process, help them achieve a better quality of life and keep them as productive members of society,” she said.
In the immediate, Hontiveros said that in the proposed 2018 NG Budget, she will introduce a provision to provide the “universality” of social pension to cover the “most senior” among the senior citizens aged 75 and up.
“The ultimate goal is to cover all senior citizens. However, for the 2018 budget, we will target the universality of social pension to cover the most senior among the senior citizens, who we believe are the most in-need,” she said.