A lawmaker proposed Friday to double the monthly social pension for indigent senior citizens from P500 to P1,000.
Representative Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City proposed House Bill 7266, which aims to amend Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, citing such increase is crucial amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“P500 a month is not much. It’s not even enough for basic maintenance medicines,” Rodriguez said.
He also said only 29 percent of the 7.5 million to 8 million Filipino senior citizens receive the benefit because of stringent requirements.
Under the law, a senior citizen could get a social pension if he or she is “frail, sickly or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs, as determined by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.”
“Because of these restrictions, millions of senior citizens are being deprived of the social pension they are entitled to,” Rodriguez said.
The solon’s proposal seeks to remove the phrase “frail, sickly and with disability” and without pension or assistance from relatives.
Instead, Rodriguez’s proposal would qualify a senior citizen for a P1,000 monthly social pension as long as he or she does not receive a pension from any private or public entity worth less than P4,000 a month.
“The objective of the law is to recognize the rights of senior citizens to take their proper place in society and make it a concern of the family, community, and government, and to give full support to the improvement of the total well-being of the elderly and their full participation in society,” he said.
Rodriguez earlier also appealed for a P1,000 increase on the monthly pension benefit of Social Security System pensioners.
In May, the House special committee on senior citizens’ technical working group approved a consolidated bill which will grant P25,000 cash gift to the elderly when they reach the age of 80 years old.
The bill will also grant an additional P25,000 when seniors turn 85, 90, and 95 years old. Centenarians meanwhile will receive P1 million once they become 101 and another P1 million when they reach 102 years old.