A lawmaker has proposed increasing the stipend of senior citizens from P500 to P2,000.
During the budget deliberation, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said there is a need to raise monthly allowance for poor seniors now extremely vulnerable to hunger due to runaway food price inflation.
The government is spending P23.18 billion next year to pay for the P500 monthly allowance of up to 3.8 million senior citizens tagged as “qualified indigents” by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
“The target is to extend the monthly subsidy to an additional 800,000 impoverished seniors. This explains the 20 percent or P3.9 billion increase in the allocation,” Campos, a deputy minority leader, said.
The P19.28 billion that the DSWD is forking out this year for the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens covers only up to 3 million qualified beneficiaries.
“We want the monthly stipend for poverty-stricken seniors bumped up to P2,000, considering that Congress has not increased the original P500 since 2010,” Campos stressed.
“Congress has to move quickly in raising the pocket money for hard up seniors who are now extremely vulnerable to hunger due to runaway food price inflation,” he added.
The Expanded Senior Citizens Law of 2010 set the monthly grant of P500.
Campos said if government cannot afford to provide P2,000 monthly to indigent seniors all at once, we should at least offer the amount to those who are 70 years old and above.
Campos is the author of House Bill 2653 which seeks to increase the monthly pension for destitute seniors at least 70 years old.
Campos said under the 1987 Constitution, the State must “care for the elderly through just programs of social security, and to provide improved quality of life for all.”
Under the law, indigent seniors refer to citizens 60 years old and above who do not receive any regular pension from elsewhere; lack permanent income or compensation, or regular and appropriate financial support from family members; and are listed as qualified beneficiaries by the DSWD.