The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has provided some PHP8.4 billion worth of cash incentives to 2.8 million indigent senior citizens in the country.
During DSWD’s uSAP Tayo virtual presser on Tuesday, DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista said “while the agency is busy with the implementation of the social amelioration program (SAP) for low-income families hardest-hit by the pandemic, other existing projects are still being carried out”.
The agency started with the first-semester of payouts for its Social Pension (SocPen) program mid-April this year to augment the needs of indigent senior citizens during the enhanced community quarantine.
The program took effect under the Republic Act No. 9994 or the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010”.
It provides monthly stipend amounting to PHP500 to indigent senior citizens to augment their daily subsistence and other medical needs.
It is distributed on a semestral basis at PHP3,000 per semester or PHP500 per month for six months.
The law states that seniors qualified to receive social pension are those who are frail, sickly, or with disability; without any pension from other government agencies; and without a permanent source of income or source of financial assistance/compensation to support their basic needs.
Meanwhile, a centenarian from Tinoc town, Ifugao in Cordillera Administrative Region received PHP100,000-cash gift for her 108th birthday on August 15.
Martina Campoy Gugunay also got a birthday greeting from President Rodrigo Duterte through a letter.
“Ang aking mainit na pagbati para sa iyong ika-isang daang taong kaarawan! (My warmest greetings for your 100th birthday!). Ang pag-abot sa isang daang taon ay napaka-espesyal na karangalan para sa isang nakatatandang Pilipino. Ito ay pagpapatunay ng kahanga-hangang karanasan at tagumpay ng iyong buhay. (Reaching [more than] a hundred years is a special privilege for a Filipino. This is a testament to your valuable experience and success in life),” the letter read.
“Nawa’y patuloy ang pagpapala ng Panginoon sa iyo at sa iyong pamilya (May the Lord continue to bless you and your family),” it added.
Amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, the agency has adopted a house-to-house delivery scheme for the centenarian cash gift of Filipino citizens 100 years old and above, as stated under Republic Act (RA) No. 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016.
DSWD is adopting this mode of delivering the cash incentives in cognizance of the centenarians’ health and physical limitations.
The scheme is also more convenient for them and their relatives especially that the government encourages seniors to stay at home as part of health and safety protocols.
Availing of benefits
In a statement, DSWD said the process to avail of the benefits is stated under the law.
It said relatives of the centenarians must submit primary documents such as birth certificates and Philippine passports to the city or municipal social welfare office (C/MSWDO) and the Office for Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in their localities.
If the two documents are not available, any one of the primary Identification Cards (IDs) is also accepted such as those issued by OSCA, Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and Social Security System (SSS); driver’s license; Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) license; and Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Voter’s ID.
Secondary documents may also be submitted such as marriage certificate either from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) or the Local Civil Registrar’s Office (LCRO); birth certificates of the children of the centenarian issued by the PSA or the LCRO; affidavits from two disinterested persons, aged 80 years who have personal knowledge of the centenarian’s age and birthdate; school and employment records showing the age of the centenarian; baptismal or confirmation records issued by churches and religious organizations; medical or dental examinations by government or private doctors and dentists; certifications from the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) ; and other similar organizations. (PNA)