WITH the rising costs of goods and services in this manpower-exporting but impoverished nation, which is teeming with jobless and underemployed people, what can P500 buy these days?
Not much, according to a beneficiary of the government’s pension plan for indigent senior citizens, which is being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
Under Republic Act (RA) No. 9994, a landmark legislation popularly known as the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010,” an elderly indigent receives a monthly pension of P500.
But due to the shortage of funds, only senior citizens who are aged 70 and above qualify for the Social Pension Program (SPP), according to Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles.
That’s why Nograles, chairman of the powerful House committee on appropriations, vowed to expand the coverage of the SPP to include those who are 60 years old and above.
The lawmaker also assured the elderly that his committee will work harder to allocate more funds for the national government’s highly-successful pension plan in the 2019 national budget.
The hard-working and well-meaning congressman said the pension is a huge help to the elderly indigents, adding that “I believe our senior citizens deserve a special place in our society.”
“I will see to it that the allocation for the Social Pension Program for senior citizens is significantly increased so that it could cover more of our senior probinsiyanos,” he said.
By the time they hit their sixties, the country’s grandfathers and grandmothers, particularly the sick, have numerous needs, like maintenance medicines and vitamins, according to Nograles.
Without doubt, expanding the coverage of the SPP for the elderly is a move in the right direction.