Romulo wants to double pension for indigent seniors

MANILA, Philippines — The next Congress should increase to at least Php1,000 monthly, or Php12,000 per annum, the pension for indigent senior citizens, Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo said over the weekend.

“The raise is long overdue. Under the law, Congress is supposed to review the allowance for poverty-stricken seniors every two years for a possible upward adjustment. Yet, Congress has not bumped up the pension in the last six years,” Romulo said.

The Expanded Senior Citizens Law of 2010 provides destitute seniors a Php500 monthly stipend, or Php6,000 per annum, “subject to a review every two years by Congress, in consultation with the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD).”

Romulo said Congress should pass a joint Senate-House resolution providing for the 100-percent increase in the monthly allowance for needy seniors.

“A monthly grant of at least Php1,000 will serve as a bigger helping hand to extremely deprived seniors who have absolutely no one else to turn to for financial aid,” he pointed out

Indigent seniors refer to all Filipinos who are 60 years and old and above who are without regular pension from the Social Security System or the Government Service Insurance System, or lacking permanent source of income, compensation, or regular and appropriate financial assistance from relatives.

They are enrolled in the DSWD’s Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens Program (SPISCP).

Romulo’s proposal implies that the national government will have to spend at least another Php20 billion every year for the SPISCP.

The program this year has an allotment of Php10 billion, which is meant to pay for the Php500 monthly stipend of some 1.6 million impoverished seniors.

The Php10 billion is Php4.1 billion, or 70 percent, greater than theSPISCP’s 2015 allocation of Php5.9-billion – intended as pocket money for 900,000 hard up seniors. PNA/