‘Time is of the essence’: 662 centenarians waitlisted for DSWD’s P100K cash gift
MANILA, Philippines — A total of 662 centenarians have been waitlisted for the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) centenarian program, which entitles them to a P100,000 tax-free cash gift from the national government.
DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo on Tuesday pushed for additional funds for the implementation of three of its programs, including the initiative to provide privileges for Filipino centenarians.
“For 2023, we have a proposed budget of 175,100,000 for the 1,675 centenarians that we have right now. However, may we inform you that we have 662 waitlisted beneficiaries that will entail P66 million under our Tier 2 proposal,” he said during the House appropriations committee briefing on the DSWD 2023 budget.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the principal author of the House measure for centenarian incentives, cautioned that time is of the essence when distributing such benefits.
“Those waitlisted centenarians cannot wait because by the time you grant them the benefits they are looking for, baka they are not here with us anymore (they might no longer be with us),” he said.
Lagman then urged the DSWD to look into possibly using the President’s contingent fund to provide the P100,000 cash gift to the waitlisted centenarians immediately.
“I would suggest that you should not wait for the enactment of the General Appropriations Act of 2023 in order to fund the requirements for the 662 [centenarians]. I would suggest that, please, look at the President’s contingent fund para hindi na gaano maghihintay itong mga centenarian (so the centenarians won’t have to wait too long),” he added.
Tulfo later revealed that they had asked for such funds from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), but according to him, with no success.
“Ni-request na po namin ito sa DBM pero hindi po na-grant, so we have already informed them that meron po tayong waitlisted na 662 centenarians na nagaantay po ng payment,” he said.
(We requested this from the DBM, but it was not granted. We have already informed them that we have 662 waitlisted centenarians waiting for the payment.)
The DSWD wants P25.7 billion to double the monthly stipend for deprived seniors, from P500 to P1,000, and an increase of P2.5 billion for its supplementary feeding program, which will increase the cost of hot meals per person from P15 to P27 and milk from P19 to P21.