Around 91,000 waitlisted senior citizens may not receive pension due to lack of funds — DSWD
MANILA, Philippines — Amid budget woes, around 91,000 waitlisted senior citizens may not be able to receive a social pension for 2021, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) bared Wednesday.
During the online hearing of the House committee on appropriations, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate asked DSWD officials how much it has allocated for the program which seeks to benefit senior citizens in the country.
Assistant Secretary Glenda Relova said they initially requested over P24 billion to cover more than 3.7 million indigent senior citizens for the program. However, the Department of Budget and Management only granted P23.187 billion, a deficit of over P816 million.
“Ang epekto nito na hindi pagkakabigay ng budget na ito is, mayroon tayong mga waitlisted na around 91,000 senior citizens na naghihintay na mabigyan ng grant, so kung hindi maibibigay sa amin itong [P816 million], hindi namin sila maisasali para sa 2021,” she added. ” Relova said.
(The effect of this slash in the budget is we cannot include the around 91,000 waitlisted senior citizens for 2021 who are waiting to be granted the pension if the P816 million won’t be given to us.)
Zarate said Congress should look into the situation as he questioned why senior citizens have to be waitlisted just to receive a pension.
“Alam naman natin na limitado na ‘yung panahon nila dito sa mundo pagkatapos, naka-waitlisted, no? Samantalang mayroong maraming pondo diyan na pwedeng mare-align para sa kapakinabangan ng rating mga elderly people,” Zarate said.
(We know that their time here is now limited but then they are waitlisted? When there are funds there that can be realigned for the benefit of the elderly people.)
The lawmaker noted as well that even DSWD’s data on 3.7 million qualified senior citizens seems to be “too small” since his estimates show that there are already around 4 million senior citizens who should qualify under the program.
“It has been said na ang ating senior citizens sa buong bansa ay nasa roughly nasa 8 million yan. Kung tayo ay masusunod ay dapat wala ng pagtatangi, lahat ng senior citizens ay dapat makatanggap ng pension mula sa ating pamahalaan,” Zarate said.
(It has been said that there are roughly 8 million senior citizens in the country. If we were to decide, everyone should be given a pension from our government.)
Zarate likewise hit the pay-out of the social pension every six months.
“I hope that this committee will look into this issue. P24 billion, P816 million ang tinapyas, it could have helped marami pang elderly people natin kung hindi tinapyas ito ng DBM at nagre-align siya ng mga pondo na dapat pwede pang bawasan para mabigyan natin ng importansya at pahalaga ang ating mga elderly people,” he added.
(I hope that this committee will look into this issue, P816 million was cut. It could have helped a lot of elderly people if the DBM didn’t slash the budget and realigned funds that can instead be slashed so that we can give importance to our elderly people.)
DSWD has a proposed budget of P171.22 billion budget for 2021. [ac]
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