For 62 years old Lola Soreda Holgado, living along the lakeshore of Taal in Brgy Butong, Taal, Batangas is a dream life just like it is for many other people. But once age becomes a factor and sickness comes around, the place becomes a place for survival for her.
Lola Soreda is one of the beneficiaries of the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens in their locality. She lives alone, unmarried and does not have any children. Her only source of income is her salbabida rental store she put up in her younger years. Her thought then was to offer life saving equipment (floaters) to locals and foreigners who wanted to swim on the lake, not knowing that one day, she will be needing her own life saver, too.
Twelve years ago, Lola Soreda started to feel pain in her lower abdomen. Thinking that there was nothing to worry about it, she endured the pain for years until she noticed the gradual enlargement of her belly.
“Ay akala ko kasi noong una ay simpleng sakit lamang sa tiyan kaya hinahayaan ko na laang. Hanggang sa naging ganito kalaki na,” Lola Soreda shared.
Lola Soreda’s relatives, who every now and then visit her, were surprised with her condition and couldn’t ignore it that they decided to have her checked by a doctor. Results of her medical examinations showed that Lola Soreda has Myoma, a benign tumor developed in the cervix, which needs to be operated immediately. However, due to financial incapacities and other related problems, Lola Soreda decided not to undergo any operation nor take any medications.
At present, Lola Soreda’s belly has gotten worse – it is now as large as the black salbabida she commonly offers for rent.
“Hindi na po kasi ito pwedeng operahin ngayon dahil mahina na ang buto ko sa likod,” shared Lola Soreda in a weak but hopeful voice.
During the distribution the Social Pension at the Taal Central School last July 20, 2019, Lola Soreda, accompanied by her sister Morena, was one of those who received their cash assistance for the first semester of 2019.
“Kapag may natatanggap po ako gaya nito ay edi ibinibili ko po ng pagkain, tsaka ng bigas, at saka pain reliever,” Lola Soreda related.
She also added that she is now very reliant on pain reliever to ease her pain.
The Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens is a program being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, which provides P500 monthly stipend or cash assistance to qualified Senior Citizens. The assistance is expected to augment daily expenses for food and medication of these senior citizens.
Morena has been living with Lola Soreda ever since the latter got her illness. Morena shared that she has already accepted the lifetime responsibility to take care of her sister.
“Mahirap din, minsan nag-aaway pa kami kasi di mo na rin sya mawari, syempre siguro sa sakit na din kaya iintindihin ko nalang,” Morena added as Lola Soreda smilingly looks on.
Despite their conditions, both siblings are thankful for the support they are receiving from the government. As they walked towards the gates of the school after receiving Lola Soreda’s pension, Morena again expressed her gratitude.
“Salamat ho, kahit paano’y nakatulong talaga,” Morena said.
Lola Soreda, on the other hand, was smiling even though she feels pain as she walks, knowing that other than her sister, she has in her pocket another salbabida.***