Some 4.1 million indigent senior citizens will each receive P12,000 in social pension this year with the full implementation of Republic Act 11916, Senator Sonny Angara said today.
As the Chairman of the Committee on Finance that went over the 2023 national budget, Angara said a total P50 billion was provided under the P5.268 trillion General Appropriations Act for the social pension for indigent seniors.
The amount covers the 100 percent increase in the monthly pension—from P500 to P1,000 as provided for under RA 11916 or the law that hiked the social pension for indigent senior citizens.
“Siniguro natin na mapopondohan sa 2023 budget ang pagtaas sa monthly social pension ng ating mga indigent senior citizens. Sinulong natin ang dagdag sa pension nila lalo na at ang mga lolo at lola na makikinabang dito ay wala talagang ipon o sustento galling sa kanino man,” Angara said.
As one of the authors of the law, Angara said the social pension will help indigent seniors with their daily subsistence and medical needs.
The social pension for indigent senior citizens was first introduced in 2010 as an additional government assistance under R.A. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizen’s Act.
R.A. 9994 amended the original Senior Citizen’s Act or R.A. 7432 to provide more benefits for Filipinos aged 60 and above, including the grant of a 20 percent discount on the purchase of certain goods and services such as medicines, a special five percent discount on prime commodities and basic necessities, and an exemption from the value added tax on the sale of goods and services.
Both laws were authored by Angara’s father, the late former Senate President Edgardo Angara and in recognition of his role in the shaping of this landmark law, R.A. 7432 has since been known as the Angara Law.
Based on the guidelines of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), as the implementing agency for the distribution of the social pension, eligible seniors should fall within the following criteria: frail, sickly or with disability; without pension from the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, or from any sources of pension in government and private agencies; and without any permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from relatives to support their basic needs.
“Close to 10 percent of all Filipinos aged 65 and above are living alone. Many are not so lucky as to have savings to get them through their twilight years and there are a lot more who have no relatives who will take care of them. As such it is necessary for the government to continuously find ways to take care of our elderly, who are especially vulnerable to poverty,” Angara said.