Government urged to double senior citizensâ pension
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said “P500 a month is not much; it’s not even enough for basic maintenance medicines.”
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman, File
Government urged to double senior citizens’ pension
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - August 10, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — An administration lawmaker and key official of the House of Representatives is pushing for the doubling of the monthly pension of millions of senior citizens from the original P500 to P1,000.

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said “P500 a month is not much; it’s not even enough for basic maintenance medicines.”

He said the pension should at least be doubled to help senior citizens cope, especially in this pandemic.

His proposal is contained in House Bill 7266, which would amend Republic Act 9994 (Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010). The law fixes the monthly stipend at P500 and provides “very restrictive qualifications” for seniors entitled to it.

Rodriguez, chairman of the House committee on constitutional reforms, said only 29 percent of the 7.5 million to eight million senior citizens receive the allowance “because the law is very restrictive.”

“Because of these restrictions, millions of senior citizens are being deprived of the social pension they are entitled to,” the veteran Mindanao lawmaker, himself a senior citizen, lamented.

Under the law, a senior citizen can qualify for the stipend if he is “frail, sickly or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs, as determined by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.”

HB 7266 also aims to remove the phrase “frail, sickly and with disability” and without pension or assistance from relatives. These requirements have eliminated countless seniors from receiving even the paltry P500.

Aside from doubling the stipend, his bill also removes the law’s restrictive provision.

“The objective of the law is to recognize the rights of senior citizens to take their proper place in society and make it a concern of the family, community and government, and to give full support to the improvement of the total well-being of the elderly and their full participation in society,” Rodriguez said.

All senior citizens should receive P1,000 monthly allowance from government, he added.

The only qualification the bill would impose on a recipient is that he/she should not be receiving pension from any public or private pension of more than P4,000 a month, he said.

This is an initial amount that can be gradually increased to be able to cover more seniors in the future.

Earlier, Rodriguez had urged the Social Security System to release the additional P1,000 in monthly pension of private sector retirees.

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