A CEBU City councilor aims to amend provisions of city ordinances regarding monthly cash assistance and one-time cash gifts for senior citizens.
In an interview with SunStar Cebu Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, Cebu City Councilor Pastor “Jun” Alcover, chairman of the senior citizens committee, said he proposes increasing the partial amount of the one-time cash gifts that a senior citizen can receive starting at 80 years old and legitimizing the transition from monthly to quarterly distribution of the city’s senior citizens’ cash assistance.
Alcover also seeks to review the eligibility of senior citizens to receive the P1,000 monthly cash assistance.
He also encouraged senior citizens to register with the City Government to access assistance and benefits they may be eligible for.
Alcover said the assistance provided by the local government unit is only for residents of the city, and to qualify, they must be registered voters in Cebu City as of 2013.
Alcover, however, clarified that unregistered senior citizens can still avail themselves of other benefits, such as the 20 percent discount on goods and services.
The city’s budget for the financial assistance of senior citizens this year is P1.6 billion.
Alcover said that due to the increasing number of senior citizens in the city, changes have been made to the distribution schedule, transitioning from monthly to quarterly distributions.
Alcover aims to formalize this change by amending the provisions of City Ordinance 2453.
Instead of distributing the P1,000 cash assistance monthly, as outlined in the city ordinance, the city now distributes a lump sum of P3,000 quarterly.
90,000 senior citizens
Monthly validations are also conducted to ensure the beneficiary list remains updated.
Alcover said the City is in the process of sorting data for approximately 90,000 senior citizens registered from 2013 and prior years.
This aims to determine the eligibility of registered individuals and update the list by identifying those who may no longer be alive, may not be registered Cebu City voters, or are from outside Cebu City.
“Mao na karon na atong gihimo karon. Ato sang gi kolekta atoang data kung pila nay nangawa or pila nay nangamatay para amo na sad na i-amend na mosaka na ta sa 2014,” said Alcover.
(This is what we’re doing now. We’re collecting our data to determine how many have passed away, so we can again amend and update the list and cover those senior citizens who registered in 2014).
However, Alcover said despite these adjustments, the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs, tasked with distributing the financial assistance, still faces challenges due to the high number of beneficiaries.
He added that there are even eligible beneficiaries from the 2013 list who have not yet received their assistance.
One-time cash gift
Alcover also proposes to amend the ordinance on the one-time cash gift distribution for centennial senior citizens.
He wants senior citizens to receive a higher portion of the P100,000 one-time cash gift at an earlier age.
He said under the current ordinance, senior citizens are eligible to receive a one-time cash benefit of only P5,000 during their 80th year, an additional P15,000 during their 90th year, with the remaining P80,000 to be given once senior citizens reach 100 for a total of P100,000.
“From how I see it, it’s a small amount because at 80 years old, there’s a need for maintenance [medicine],” said Alcover in Cebuano.
Alcover said the amendment of the ordinance will change the amount of the one-time cash benefit to P25,000 during a senior citizen’s 80th birthday, another P25,000 during his 90th birthday, and the remaining balance of P50,000 upon reaching 100 years old.
The proposed amendment is now in its second reading.
Alcover advised individuals residing outside Cebu City against registering in the city solely to receive financial assistance.
He also clarified that the city’s assistance is only for indigent senior citizens, as a certificate of indigency is required for senior citizens who want to receive financial assistance.