CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama announced yesterday that the City Government will release on Friday the P120 million worth of cash assistance for the estimated 60,000 senior citizens in the city.
The mayor also plans to distribute the cash aid to the elderly through ATMs (Automatic Teller Machine) in the next distribution instead of doing it in the barangays to save time and effort.
“If OSCA (Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs) and the senior citizens would also agree, we will distribute it via ATM, if possible. This will simplify things for everyone,” Rama said.
Rama, in his regular press conference yesterday, said that each senior citizen will receive P2,000 from the City.
The City set aside some P120 million for the distribution, which will be supervised by all the department heads of City Hall.
It will be distributed in the 80 barangays simultaneously, whole day on Friday.
The amount forms part of the P12,000 financial assistance promised by Rama for each senior citizen this year.
OSCA presiding officer Dominggo Q. Chaves Jr., in an interview yesterday, said that in the event that a senior citizen will fail to claim his or her cash assistance, he or she may visit the City Treasurer’s Office.
“If they are not available, they can claim it in the City Treasurer’s Office. They will be given 15 days to claim it, just like the PWD (persons with disabilities),” Chaves added.
If the plan will be implemented, Rama said a counter-checking of the registered senior citizens must be done to remove those who died already from the list of beneficiaries.
“Basin unya og patay na ang uban, unya (Maybe the others are already dead, and then it is) via ATM, we will not be able to validate. We will only be doing a post-validation,” Rama said.
Rama said the project will have to consider how the City Government can put all of this in the proper perspective.
Chaves agreed that giving the financial assistance through ATM will be more convenient, but added that this has downsides as well.
“We are apprehensive that it might go to the wrong hands. Naa may usahay nga mahadlok na mutuplok sa ATM kay tiguwang na. Unya, basin patay na unya ang pamilya sige’g kuha kay wala pa ma-declare (There are times that the elderly is afraid to use the ATM. It is also possible that even if the beneficiary is dead, the family will still continue withdrawing the assistance because there is no declaration yet),” Chaves said.
Chaves said such apprehensions will be prevented if OSCA, the City Registrar’s Office and the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) will work together in keeping track of the registered senior citizens in the city.
Aside from the senior citizens, Rama said he would also like to have the PWD, and the other barangay incentives and honorariums to be distributed through ATM.
The distribution on Friday will be the second this year. The distribution last February was in completion of last year’s cash assistance. (Rona Joyce T. Fernandez, CNU Communication Intern)