SENATE President Vicente Sotto III pushed for an increase in the social pension of indigent senior citizens to help them better cope with rising costs of basic commodities and the additional financial demands caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In filing Senate Bill No. 2243, the Senate leader sought the grant of an additional P500 monthly stipend on top of the present P500 social pension that senior citizens are getting to “defray the cost of daily subsistence and other medical needs.”
Sotto said most of the country’s elderlies have not been able to regularly avail of the benefits and privileges provided to them under the Senior Citizens Act (Republic Act 7432) because these “can only be availed consistently from merchants in malls and big service providers, which our indigent senior citizens cannot afford to go to due to higher prices of goods in these establishments.”
He pointed out that “these discounts are mostly not available in the neighborhood stores and in their local wet markets. Thus, the rising cost of living and the added financial burden brought about by the present pandemic has taken a toll on our indigent senior citizens.”
“May 20 percent discount nga sila, pero hindi naman nila ito magagamit sa pagbili ng pandesal sa bakery, o ng turon na merienda sa aleng dumaraan sa harap ng kanilang mga bahay. Sa sitwasyon natin ngayon na hindi naman maaaring lumabas ang ating mga lolo at lola para ma-avail ang kanilang senior citizen discount, malaking tulong ang anumang halaga na maidadagdag sa kanilang social pension. Dagdag pambili rin ito ng kanilang mga gamot at iba pang pangangailangan,” Sotto said.
Government data shows there are 3,796,791 indigent senior citizens all over the country as of 2019.