June 17, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Senior citizens groups air appeal for 466,000 indigent elderly folks in social pension waitlist

SENIOR citizens associations in Quezon City appealed to Congress to persuade the national government to automatically enroll 466,000 indigent elderly Filipinos in the grant of cash aid provided under two social assistance programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The Federation of Senior Citizens Associations of the Philippines-Quezon City lamented that some 466,000 indigent senior citizens are being denied financial assistance under the social pension program.

These elderly Filipinos have applied for and have been qualified to receive P1,000 monthly pension but remain in the waiting list due to lack of funds.

Led by Jorge Banal, FSCAP-QC noted that the waitlisted senior citizens have been qualified by state social workers as indigent for being “frail, sickly and without means of livelihood”.

“It would be a great injustice for government to continue to exclude them from the social pension program. They badly need the financial assistance right now,” said Banal.

Nueva Ecija Rep. Ria Vergara, chairperson of the House Committee on Social Services, said that those awaiting their turn to receive the monthly pension are practically “just waiting for the current recipients to die” for them to have a chance to receive P1,000 monthly in pension from government.

In a planning session on Tuesday, FSCAP-QC members adopted a resolution urging Congress and the national government to extend cash assistance to the 466,000 indigent seniors by enrolling them in the newly-introduced AKAP program or the Ayuda sa Kapos ang KIta and the Assistance for Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS).

AKAP is a one-time P5,000 cash assistance  to be given to 12 million families considered to be near poor.

AICS, on the other hand, extends a maximum P5,000 every three months to individuals experiencing financial crisis to address vital needs.

Congress has allocated P500 billion of the P5,768 trillion 2024 national budget for AKAP alone.

Tens of billions more will be used this year to finance the AICS which is partly coursed through members of Congress.

“Seniors, including those still excluded in the social  pension program, constantly experience financial crises to address basic requirements in life, particularly their medical needs. Granting them access to the two DSWD programs will tide them over until the next help comes,” said Ben Rosario, proponent of the FSCAP resolution and president of the Marilag Senior Citizens Association.