THE Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Davao Region bared on Monday that the budget for Social Pension Program this year has increased to 54 percent as compared to the budget in 2017.
DSWD-Davao assistant regional director for operations Rebecca Santamaria said DSWD allocated a P1.5-billion budget for the indigent social pensioners in the region.
"We only served about 160,000 beneficiaries last year, but for this year, we can serve up to 250,200 beneficiaries for the program," Santamaria said, as she urged seniors 60 years old above to apply for social pension from their respective units in the region.
Santamaria said DSWD can justify their budget as this is covered by the Republic Act 9994, otherwise known as The Act Granting Additional Benefits and Privileges to Senior Citizens, further amending Republic Act 7432.
"We have coordinated with the local government units for the list. Only those indigent older persons aged 60 years old and above are covered by the Social Pension Program under the Republic Act 9994," she said.
The law specifies that seniors qualified to receive a monthly pension under the Social Pension Program of the DSWD are those who are frail, sickly or with disability; without any pension from other government agencies; and without a permanent source of income or source of financial assistance/compensation to support their basic needs.
DSWD-Davao director Mercedita Jabagat earlier bared that all pensioners in the region will be given P200 additional monthly pension following the directive of the national office.
The pension will be distributed every quarter, DSWD-Davao public information officer Carmela Duron said, adding that pensioners will now receive a total of P2,100 per quarter with the additional P200.
Duron said the additional P200 monthly grant is under the Unconditional Cash Grant, provided for by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law, and this will increase to P300 in 2019 and 2020.
She said the agency will implement the Unconditional Cash Grant scheme for three years as stipulated in Tax Reform. It will release P2,100 in 2018 and P2,400 in 2019 and in 2020 in Davao.
DSWD-Davao recorded a total of 136,067 pensioners who received their monthly pension with a total fund of P816,404,000 while a total of 107 centenarians received a total fund of P10,700,000 cash grant last year.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on February 13, 2018.
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