At the Senate hearing of the proposed 2018 budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros pushed for the “universality” of social pension for all senior citizens and immediately for the “most senior” and indigent among them.
Hontiveros said that there should be universality of social pension for senior citizens, particularly the most senior and those who are not covered by any of the pension packages in existence such as the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines Savings and Loan Association Inc. (AFPSLAI).
“While the most ideal is to cover all senior citizens, but given the limitations of the proposed 2018 budget, in the meantime, it is fiscally prudent for the government to target the universality of social pension to cover the more senior among the senior citizens, who we believe are the most ‘in-need’. This even as we work to craft a budget in the succeeding years that will cover the entirety of all senior citizens,” Hontiveros said.
“Alagaan natin ang ating mga senior citizens, lalo na ang pinaka-senior sa kanila,” Hontiveros added.
Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) 2010 census-based estimate, projected population by age group, for the year 2018, segment of population aged 60 up to 80 and above would be around 8.7M Filipinos.
Hontiveros asked the DSWD what is the percentage of the coverage of the target indigent senior citizens vis-à-vis the total number of indigent senior citizens in the proposed 2018 allocation.
According to Hontiveros, citing DSWD data, there are 2,809,542 target validated senior citizens beneficiaries in the 2017 budget. However, there are 842,471 senior citizens who were validated but waitlisted. To date, there are 3,652,013 indigent senior citizens.
“There are approximately 3.6M validated indigent senior citizens, yet, in the proposed 2018 budget, only 3 million are fully funded. This means that more than six hundred thousand indigent senior citizens will be left behind,” Hontiveros said.
“It is incumbent upon the government to cover the entire segment of senior citizens, indigent and without existing insurance coverage, for them to be able to avail of the government’s social pension package by increasing the allocation for the program,” Hontiveros ended.
The proposed 2018 budget for the DSWD’s social pension for indigent senior citizens amounts to P19.2 Billion.