The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading an ordinance providing for a local social pension program in the city and for other purposes.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Betty Lourdes F. Tabanda states that it will be a policy of the city government to protect the most vulnerable sector of the society by providing a social protection and support program through enabling legislation to augment the capacity of its indigent senior citizen to meet their own basic needs.
Under the proposed ordinance, the local senior social pension program shall be available to the senior citizens who are Filipino citizens, at least 65 years old at the time of the application, residents of the city and holders of identification cards issued by the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) for at least 3 years, not employed nor receiving regular financial or material support from family members or relatives, not receiving regular pensions of more than P3,000 from the government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS) or private companies and not a social pensioner or beneficiary or recipient or any other financial assistance from the local or national government or institution.
The ordinance stipulates that some 3,000 qualified indigent senior citizens from the city shall be selected as beneficiaries for the initial implementation of the program.
The implementing guidelines for the local senior social pension program shall be formulated by an ad hoc committee to be constituted by the Office of the City Social Welfare and Development and the OSCA.
The ordinance discloses that the amount of P18 million necessary to implement the program for the first year shall be sourced from any available funds of the city government. The succeeding funds for the purpose shall be included in the annual budget of the CSWDO specifically for the said program.
The ordinance asserts that the city government recognizes the need of the indigent senior citizens to access any financial assistance from all sources available as many of them are allegedly unemployed, with no regular income or do not receive financial support from family or relative or any institution.
On the other hand, some of them simply share resources with other family members, thus, considering the said situation, there is a need to create a local social pension program for indigent senior citizens to protect them from deprivation and to help them meet their own necessities to survive.
Section 5 of Republic Act (RA) 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 provided that indigent senior citizens shall be entitled to a monthly stipend amounting to P500 to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of the senior citizens, subject to a review every 2 years by Congress, in consultation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). It is the objective of the said program to improve the living conditions of the elderly and to augment their capacity to meet their daily needs.