THE ordinance granting a P1,500 annual pension for senior citizens is now awaiting the signature of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio as the 19th City Council already passed it on third and final reading on Tuesday, November 19.
The ordinance, filed by Councilor Ralph Abella, aims to give financial assistance to qualified senior citizens, as a counterpart to the annual P6,000 pension given by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Abella said they will also be finalizing the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) of the ordinance, which will take effect in the second week of November 2020.
Originally, qualified senior citizens registered in the city will be receiving P3,000 yearly, which will be sourced from the City Mayor's Office.
However, City Budget Officer Ermelinda Furog-Gallego said Duterte-Carpio had only pledged to provide P1,500 to qualified seniors. This will be included in the Supplemental Budget (SB) 1 next year.
Abella said the existing budget cannot provide P3,000 to each senior citizen.
The councilor also said the proposed ordinance is too late to be included in next year's budget.
But he said the ordinance may be amended every two years, depending on the city's generated income yearly. He said the budget for the next year's implementation will be sourced from the Real property tax collection.
"Actually, kaya man sa city nga mu-allocate og P3,000 yearly, kung wala lang ta'y laing ginagustusan (Actually, the City can allocate P3,000 yearly. If only we are not spending it on other expenses)," Abella said.
Abella said the age qualification was also changed from 60 years old to 65 years old.
Earlier, he said seniors are no longer required to secure a voter's registration certificate from the Commission on Elections (Comelec), as the city will be the one who will get the list from the office.
Abella said he will also be requesting Comelec to conduct a satellite registration in the different barangays of the city to give those unregistered seniors an opportunity to register.
He also said seniors must have an ID from the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs.
But he said bedridden seniors are not required to be a registered voter, as long as he or he or she will secure a certificate from the City Social Services and Development Office and the barangay.
He also said the financial assistance will be personally delivered to them.