Senator Joel Villanueva is pushing to increase the monthly social pension of senior citizens to P1,000, saying that it is the least the government can do for a sector that is one of the worst-hit by the pandemic, the rising cost of fuel, and inflation.
“The current P500 monthly allowance is not enough for the daily subsistence and medical needs of our elderly Filipinos. The pandemic is in its second year, and prices have gone up, and yet their monthly allowance didn’t change. Let’s honor and respect them with a better pension,” Villanueva said.
“Let’s honor and respect them with a better pension.”
The subcommittee chair of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development on the Senior Citizen Social Pension Bills held a hearing last January on eight legislative measures proposing additional benefits for indigent elder Filipinos.
The veteran legislator reiterated the call to increase this pension during a meeting with senior citizens in Quezon City recently where he said that elderly Filipinos have waited more than a decade for this increase since the enactment of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.
“We shouldn’t wait for another 10 years or another pandemic just to improve the precious time left for our lolos and lolas.”
“We shouldn’t wait for another 10 years or another pandemic just to improve the precious time left for our lolos and lolas,” the seasoned lawmaker said.
The senator pointed out that Senate Bill No. 2506 under Committee Report No. 597 also mandates the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to review the pension amount every two years based on the prevailing consumer price index as published by the Philippine Statistics Authority and relevant economic indicators.
“In fact, the Expanded Senior Citizens Act already provides for a two-year review of the stipend. Once passed into law, we will make sure that the regularity of the review is enforced so that the rate of the pension keeps up with the times,” Villanueva said.
He added that he is hoping that the measure can be passed into law when Congress goes back in session after the May elections.
Based on data from DSWD, the country currently has more than 3.8 million indigent Filipinos aged 60 and over. With the current P500 rate, the government allots P23.6 billion every year for the monthly stipend.
“For a country that prides itself in how we take care of its elderly, doubling the allotment for lolo and lola should not be seen as excessive. The respect and dignity they deserve are long overdue,” Villanueva said.
He is also the co-author of Republic Act No. 11350, or the National Commission of Senior Citizens Act, which ensures the full implementation of laws, policies, and programs of the government for senior citizens.