Amid granular lockdown in some areas, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continues to distribute the stipend of indigent senior citizen-beneficiaries of the Social Pension Program across the country.
Through the DSWD Field Offices’ (FOs) Special Disbursing Officers, pay-out activities in the different regions for the 3.8 million target beneficiaries for 2021 are on-going. As of May 31, the Department has already served nearly 2 million beneficiaries or nearly half-way to its total target.
Moreover, FO VI posted the highest number of beneficiaries served with 100% completion, followed by FO CAR with 94.65%, and FO VII with 91.09%. Some regions are challenged to reach their targets due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in their areas, mandatory 14-day quarantine of some personnel, simultaneous implementation of other DSWD programs, and mobility concerns caused by the quarantine protocols.
Meanwhile, to make the release of the stipends more convenient for the senior citizens, the Department is closely working with the LandBank of the Philippines (LBP) for the issuance of cash cards. For the first quarter of 2021, the LBP has already produced 596,796 cash cards for beneficiaries in regions NCR, CAR, II, III, IX, and Caraga. The remaining lists of social pensioners were already endorsed to LBP for the opening of account and cash card production.
Furthermore, following the house resolution filed by the House of Representatives Committee on Senior Citizen, the Department is currently enhancing its guidelines for the adjustment in the release of the stipend to make the social pension payouts quarterly instead of the current schedule of every six months.
With these efforts, senior citizens are further assisted to have additional resources for their daily subsistence and other medical needs especially during the pandemic.
DSWD noted that most of the beneficiaries utilized their pension mainly for their food, medicines and vitamins, health check-up, and other medical needs.