The House Committee on Population and Family Relations chaired by Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones unanimously approved a measure which will increase the social pension for senior citizens and a proposal that will impose stiffer penalties on violence and abuse against elders.

Rep. Sol Aragones, 3rd District, Laguna

The proposed “Expanded Senior Citizen Social Pension Act” which is a consolidation of eight bills filed by 11 representatives simplifies the qualification for social pension program and increases the amount granted by the government to senior citizens under Republic Act No. 9994 or the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010”.

The measure makes the social pension available to all senior citizens without source of income, those without pension, and those receiving minimum pension of Php3,500 or below from SSS and other public or private social protection system. The amount of social pension granted to beneficiaries is also doubled from Php 500 to 1000 pesos.

“Sa ngayon, sobrang restrictive at napakahaba ng criteria para makatanggap ng social pension; kailangan pang patunayan na si lolo o si lola ay may sakit o kapansanan. Paano naman yung mga wala pang sakit pero papunta na dun dahil kulang na kulang ang pantustos sa pang-araw-araw na gastusin? Panahon na na itaas natin ang pension dahil wala na halos mabibili sa halagang Php 500 pesos ngayon,” pointed out by Aragones who is a leading advocate for senior citizens’ welfare.

The proposed “Anti-Elder Abuse Act”, on the other hand, addresses all forms of elder abuse or crime of violence against senior citizens. Under this measure, any act of violence against a senior citizen shall be considered an aggravating circumstance. Aside from imprisonment, commission of certain acts of violence will be fined in the amount of Php 100,000 to Php 300,000 pesos.

The bill institutes several mechanisms intended to assist our senior citizens who are victims of violence such as immediate legal assistance from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO), support services from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Local Government Units (LGUs), and establishment of a Senior Citizens Help Desk in every barangay.

“Our elderly deserve utmost respect in their twilight years; walang puwang sa isang sibilisadong komunidad ang pananakit, pangmamaltrato, at pang-aabuso sa mga nakatatanda,” stressed Aragones.

The committee reports on the two approved bills concerning senior citizens’ welfare will be filed soon in preparation for its second reading at the plenary.


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