DSWD to let LGUs distribute aid to elderly

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Sunday, July 6, 2014


SEVERAL Cebu mayors welcomed, but with reservation, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD) 7’S decision to transfer to local government units (LGUs) the funds for social pensions for indigent senior citizens.

Earlier, DSWD 7 Director Mercedita Jabagat said the LGUs will be the ones to distribute the stipend to the indigent senior citizens whose names are listed in the consolidated order of payment provided by her agency.

“The DSWD introduces this new scheme in order to fast-track the distribution of cash assistance to the beneficiaries,” Jabagat said in a press statement.

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Jabagat said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has allocated the amount of P208.8 million for Region 7, composed of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor for 2014.

DSWD 7 has identified 34,792 beneficiaries in Central Visayas who will receive P500 in monthly stipend under the Social Protection Program of the government.

Pension

Qualified for the program are those 77 years old and above; frail, sickly, or have a disability; not receiving pension from Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) or Veterans Pension; and those who do not have permanent source of income or regular support from relatives.

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes said, “Despite the additional burden for LGUs to undertake this responsibility we welcome it if only to guarantee to facilitate a more speedy and accurate distribution of the stipends of the indigent senior citizens.”

Tuburan, Cebu Mayor Democrito Diamante, who is also the president of the League of Mayors in the Philippines (LMP) Cebu Chapter, said the scheme will hasten the distribution of assistance and ensure that the beneficiaries are really their constituents.

“It’s a good decision because the LGUs know who are the indigent senior citizens in their localities,” Diamante said.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he fully supports it if it expedites the distribution of assistance, promote transparency and put the local autonomy into action.

Mayor Valdemar Chiong of the City of Naga said he has no problem with it, although he hopes DSWD will consider their end in the identification of beneficiaries.

Mayor Mariano Martinez of San Remegio, Cebu said he is happy with the development.

“I understand, though, that there are also senior citizens that should have received this stipend but were not included in the DSWD list. DSWD knows this problem. I just hope we, mayors, would not be the target of complaint from senior citizens who are not in the list,” Martinez said.

Martinez’s opinion is shared by a mayor in Bohol who doesn’t want to be identified.

“That DSWD list was the result of a survey three years ago and since then so many 77 years old and above have died and so many under 77 years old have reached 77 years old and above. The mayors must be given a chance by DSWD to conduct their own survey,” said the Bohol mayor.

Mayor Adelino Sitoy said the stipend will help the poor senior citizens of Cordova. He said he favors it as long as it will not involve local funds.

Mayor Jose Esgana of Sta. Fe said that with the decision to transfer the DSWD funds to the municipality, the distribution will be fast because they knew their constituency.

Talisay City Mayor Johnny delos Reyes said the new DSWD scheme is better considering that as mayor, he is directly in touch with the masses.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 07, 2014.

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