MORE than 67,000 indigent senior citizens in Central Visayas availed of the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) social pension program.
DSWD 7 Social Pension Program Focal Person Artemia Degamo said each indigent elderly gets P6,000 annually or P1,500 every quarter.
In a forum organized by the Association of Government Information Officers 7 last Tuesday, Degamo said the beneficiaries of the program increased to 67,567 since it started five years ago.
In 2011, only 11,402 indigent senior citizens received the pension.
Degamo attributed the increase of the beneficiaries to the changes in the program’s criteria.
When the program started, she said only senior citizens aged 77 and above could qualify as beneficiaries.
Now, all those who reach 60 years old can avail of the pension.
Other requirements for the program provide that the indigent elderly should have not received any pensions yet from any public or private institutions.
They must also prove that they are not receiving regular support from their family or relatives.
DSWD’s pension is transferred to the beneficiaries in three ways: through pay-out, fund transfer to the local government units (LGU) or door-to-door delivery.
However, Degamo admitted that not all indigent senior citizens have been able to avail of the program, particularly those who are living in the streets.
She lamented that the number of beneficiaries they accommodate depends on the list provided by the LGUs.
“So if you see an indigent elderly living on the streets in a municipality or a city, we suggest that you report it to the LGU so they will be given aid,” she said.
For this year, Degamo said they are targeting to enroll around 102,000 indigent senior citizens, who are all in the wait list, in the program.
But she said their inclusion will still depend on the funds that will be approved by the DSWD Manila.
For next year, she said they are proposing a P1.2-billion budget for the social pension program.