A total of 1,117 indigent senior citizens in Taal, Batangas Province received their pension under the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens last July 20.

The said senior citizens received PhP 3,000 each, which is equivalent to the guidelines of the program of Php500 monthly pension for the period covering the months of January to June 2019. The said senior citizens are only among the 1,935 beneficiaries target for the municipality.

DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista, in his message to the senior citizens during the pension distribution, apologized for the delay in the provision of the stipend. He, however, ensured that the Department will speed up the process in succeeding payouts so that the senior citizens can use these for their needs promptly.

This 2019, the DSWD has implemented the semestral payout for social pensioners as compared to the quarterly payouts done in previous years. Further, the DSWD has also conducted a validation of all the beneficiaries nationwide prior to the distribution of the stipend. Both factors contributed to the delay in conduct of the distribution of stipend.

The Social Pension program is mandated under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 that provides a monthly stipend of PhP 500 to indigent senior citizens for their daily subsistence and medical needs.

In the CALABARZON Region, there are a total of 318,579 senior citizens who are beneficiaries of this program.

Grateful beneficiaries

Natividad Tolentino, 75, shared her gratitude for the help the government is providing through the social pension program.

“Kahit hirap akong maglakad, pinilit ko talagang pumunta dito. Nagpapasalamat ako dahil kahit papaano ay mayroon na akong pangpa-checkup,” shared Tolentino, who added that she suffers from a lot of illness including back pain, headache and cataract.

Tolentino is living alone with her partner, 73-year-old Loreto Moreto, in a small house in Brgy. Pook. She is widowed for more than 50 years and all three of her children died from illness.

Perseveranda Endozo, 78, from Brgy. Halang said that the stipend she received will be used for her purchase of medicines and food.

Widowed for 16 years, Endozo has six children, and although her children and grandchildren provide for her daily needs, she still has other needs.

“Masarap sa pakiramdam yung may sarili kang pera, na hindi na ako parating hihingi sa kanila para sa iba kong mga pangangailangan,” she added.

Payout across the region

Of the 318,579 indigent senior citizen target beneficiaries of the Social Pension program, the DSWD through its Field Office IV-A, had visited and validated 284,778 (89.39%) senior citizens in all five provinces in the region.

According to Dir. Annie E. Mendoza, Regional Director of DSWD Field Office IV-A, the validation of the remaining 37,801 senior citizens will be completed by the end of July 2019.

Upon completion of the validation, the Field Office will schedule the conduct of the payout per city / municipality in coordination with the local government units, particularly the Local Social Welfare and Development Offices as well as the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs.