Government, the elderly, and Cebu City

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas - The Freeman

Yesterday, it was reported that Republic Act No. 11916 lapsed into law on July 30.

This act is “for increasing the social pension of indigent senior citizens and appropriating funds therefor.”

RA11916, amending RA 7432, also has the added provisions of: “1) the hiring of seniors through a tax incentive to employers (an additional deduction from their gross income equivalent to 15% of the total cost of salaries and wages to seniors employed for at least half a year), and, 2) the additional social safety assistance to seniors to cushion the effects of economic shocks and disasters, to be sourced from calamity funds of local governments.”

From P500, the monthly social pension of indigent senior citizens (at least 60 years old and over) will increase to P1,000.

This law covers “any elderly who is frail, sickly or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his or her relatives to support his or her basic needs, as determined by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in consultation with the National Coordinating and Monitoring Board.”

Within three years from this law’s effectivity, by 2025, “the implementation, distribution and management of the social pension will be transferred from the DSWD to the National Commission of Senior Citizens.”

According to DSWD data, there are about “4.1 million indigent seniors.” Of course, any form of assistance is most welcome now by all, including our elderly and the indigents among them.

Some questions though:

1) Is P500 enough for them to tide over the continuing crises affecting all?

2) Has the list of indigent senior citizens been drawn in a clear, transparent manner and not based on political affiliations or interference?

Like all other local and national government list of recipients of government ayuda, we hope and pray all genuine indigent senior citizens are completely listed, without any left behind.

3) Will the distribution also be prompt, orderly and friendly, mindful of the needs, especially of the “frail, sickly or with disability?”

We hope government will not have to make these elderly beneficiaries line up under the sun or under other uncomfortable arrangements as most distribution of ayudas so far have been done.

4) What do elderly themselves report that they truly need?

5) Is cash ayuda the only assistance government can provide our elderly?

It is a sad reality to know that millions of our people, from their childhood to their senior years, remain genuinely and effectively unassisted by local and national government. Millions continue to be hungry, their numbers increasing with the continuing crises. Health, education, economic needs remain unattended.

Infra project, even basura/waste, receive far more budget and amenities than our poor millions.

If only the needy are prioritized sincerely by government, then by the time our people turn 60, their social pension will have been prepared for because they were properly employed with sufficient salary, health and other benefits and pension.

To truly assist our elderly, care and attention should be given earlier, before all turn 60! Providing soonest, now, for the basic needs of all, regardless of age, gender, class,

Location and political affiliation will go a long way to genuinely assisting our Filipino people!

Cebu City has one of the most generous monthly allowance for senior citizens, if I am not mistaken?

However, to our surprise, not all seniors automatically receive their monthly allowance. Only those who voted in Cebu from a particular election year are qualified to be listed in the barangay/LGU list of seniors!

Many of us have been disenfranchised from receiving the allotted Senior Citizen monthly allowance of Cebu City because of this unjust, political requirement!

Will this old policy change soon, Mayor Mike?


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with