NEGROS ORIENTAL -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development Negros Island Region (DSWD-NIR) warned senior citizens in the province to be vigilant with the new method of collecting fee from the elderly.

DSWD-NIR Regional Director Shalaine Marie Lucero issued the warning to senior citizens here after they received reports that unidentified persons pose as employees of DSWD in Bacolod City going house to house collecting money of P800,00 for a senior citizen registration fee.

Lucero said the department is not requiring any fee from senior citizens to become beneficiaries of the program and is not doing a house to house survey.

“The Social Pension for Indigent Filipino senior citizens is in line with the fulfillment of the obligation of the government to protect the most vulnerable sector through social protection and for the full implementation of the Republic Act No. 9994,” said Lucero.

The program provides stipend of P500 per month to qualified senior citizens who are indigents aged 60 years old and above, frail, sick or with disability, has no pension from Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS) or any private insurance, and has no permanent source of income or regular support from relatives to meet their basic needs, she added.

DSWD now advised the senior citizens to go to the nearest Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (Osca) to be able to apply for the Social Pension program.

Application forms are only available at Osca.

All short-listed beneficiaries will have to be assessed by the City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officers (C/MSWDO) and/or Focal Persons of the social pension program of the local government unit.

The result of the assessment will determine if these senior citizens are qualified for wait-listing.

Waitlisted senior citizens will be prioritized for the inclusion of the program.

“The C/MSWDO’s will submit to us the list of qualified senior citizens for my approval," Lucero said.

DSWD also asked their clients not to engage the services of a certain Ruth Magallanes nor Jhonny Tubban who offered free therapy sessions inclusive with the P800 fee.

Lucero advised the senior citizens of the region not to entertain self-proclaimed DSWD staff without presenting any valid DSWD identification cards. (PIA)