ANAKALUSUGAN party-list Rep. Mike Defensor on Sunday urged the Senate to pass a bill seeking to double to P1,000 the monthly pension of some 3.8 million indigent senior citizens.
“The bill is already with the Senate, after the House passed it in July. In fact, no less than Senate President Vicente Sotto III authored the counterpart Senate bill. Now would be a good time for the Senate to pass the bill while we are observing Elderly Filipino Week,” Defensor said.
A presidential proclamation designates October 1 to 7 of every year as Elderly Filipino Week, in honor of all citizens above 60 years of age.
Defensor gave credit to the growing role of elderly Filipinos in nation-building.
“We have a multitude of elderly Filipinos rearing their grandchildren whose parents have been driven to work overseas in search of greener pastures,” Defensor, vice chairperson of the House committee on welfare of children, said.
“Countless elderly Filipinos also keep on working not only to support themselves, but also to help pay for the needs of their financially struggling children and grandchildren,” Defensor pointed out.
Under House Bill 9459, which has since been transmitted to the Senate, the existing P500 monthly pension for impoverished seniors shall be increased to P1,000.
The bill also mandates the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), together with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), to review the monthly pension rate every two years, with a view to further raising the amount periodically, after taking into consideration the annual rate of increase in consumer prices.
“The P500 monthly allowance has been reduced into a pittance by the overall increase in the cost of living,” Defensor said.
Once the bill is enacted, Defensor said Congress would be compelled to double to P47 billion the yearly budget for the DSWD’s Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens.
In the proposed P5.024-trillion General Appropriations Act of 2022, Defensor said the DSWD is getting only P23.5 billion to pay for the P500 monthly pension of poor seniors.