Joel Villanueva

Senators hail okay of higher pension for elderly

May 31, 2022 People's Tonight 247 views

SENATORS thank their colleagues for supporting the passage of Senate Bill No. 2506, seeking to increase the social pension of indigent senior citizens, as they welcomed on third and final reading a bill that will give an additional P500 to P1,000 for every senior citizen.

Senator Joel Villanueva said it is high time that the government gives additional help to our elders, considering that these people really need help in various forms.

“Matatanda na po sila at napakaraming kailangan bilang maintenance. Alam naman po natin na hindi ganun kadaling humingi sa mga kaanak at anuman tulong na ibibigay ng gobyerno ay malaking bagay para sa mga gamot at pagkain nila,” Villanueva maintained.

Senator and Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development Chairperson Leila M. de Lima, for her part, also welcomed the Senate’s approval of Senate Bill No. 2506.

De Lima, co-sponsor and co-author of Senate Bill (SB) No. 2506, sees the passage of the said measure as “one step towards strengthening our Social Pension program and our ultimate goal to make it inclusive and universal.”

“As a senior citizen myself, I understand this measure from the advocates’ perspective. It is a privilege to age and celebrates the gift of life that God gave us.

“But as we reach old age, the decline of senior citizens’ productive capacity exposes their sector to various vulnerabilities, and the government must be there to afford them the support they need together with their families,” she said.

“Sa dapit-hapon ng kanilang buhay, hayaan nating sariwain nila ang lahat ng kontribusyon nila sa lipunan na may dignidad at suportang galing sa pamahalaan. Alalahanin natin ang lahat ng kanilang naiambag sa bayan sa panahong sila ay malakas pa. ‘Lahat tayo, tatanda din,’” she added.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), senior citizens continue to be one of the most vulnerable groups of our population.

Despite their vulnerability, their number is rising at a rate faster than the country’s total population, with the Commission on Population and Development (PopCom) stating on record that the country would have an “aging population” between 2030 and 2035.

Under SB No. 2506, which seeks to amend Republic Act (RA) No. 7432, indigent senior citizens shall be entitled to a monthly stipend amounting to not less than P1,000 to augment their daily subsistence and other medical needs.

It also provides an alternative method of payment to qualified beneficiaries and mandates the waiving of transaction and service fees, among others.

Under the said measure, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is mandated to adjust the amount of the social pension every two years, when necessary.

The lady Senator from Bicol stressed that investments in senior citizens are also an investment in the country’s economy.

“This is not a sunk cost, for it will ultimately redound to better health of our senior citizens and greater welfare of their families,” she said.

“This, in turn, will lead to a stronger and more productive populace. The increased consumption brought about by this measure is just an added bonus for our country’s economy,” she added.

De Lima, a staunch advocate of senior citizens rights and welfare, also filed SB No. 1973 last year expanding the grant of 20% discount and exemption from the Value Added Tax (TAX) of senior citizens to include medicines, supplements, vitamins, herbal products and formulated milk duly prescribed or recommended by physicians. By Camille P. Balagtas