Press Release
December 1, 2015

Recto appeals to budget Bicam: Don't touch P2.5 B hike for senior pension

The House-Senate panel that will hammer out the final version of the 2016 national budget met today with a Senate leader appealing to his House counterparts to leave the P2.5 billion the Senate has added to the budget for indigent seniors pension untouched.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph G. Recto said senators hiked the appropriation for financial aid to senior citizens to P10 billion, from the P7.51 billion proposed by Malacañang and later approved by the House.

The increase will allow around 428,000 more senior citizens to receive the P6,000 annual aid, or to 1,594,224 from the proposed 1,182,914, Recto explained.

The increase was one of the amendments Recto proposed as chair of the Senate Finance subcommittee which reviews the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

It is the DSWD which runs what is officially called the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens Program.

"I would like to correct my earlier statement that the amendment was not carried in the approved Senate bill," Recto said.

Recto said the Senate increased the budget for the program after advocacy groups for senior citizens alleged that DSWD's count of beneficiaries left out nearly half-a-million senior citizens who qualify for the pension under the law.

After reviewing its data base, the DSWD recomputed the number of beneficiaries, and joined NGOs in calling for an increase.

"This stemmed from the policy that all indigent seniors 60 years old and above must be covered by the proposed allocation for 2016. If the No Senior Left Behind principle will be followed, then the budget must be adjusted," Recto said.

The grant of a monthly pension to "economically disadvantaged" seniors is mandated by Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

RA 9994 defines an "indigent senior citizen" as someone 60 years old and above who is "frail, sickly, or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his relatives to support his needs."

"Walang full implementation ng program simula 2010. Unti-unti ang implementasyon. Dati 77 years old pataas lang ang covered. Tapos ibinaba ang cut-off age. Next year lang talaga na lahat ng mahihirap na seniors ay kasama na sa programa," Recto said.

News Latest News Feed