(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Tuesday, 05 March 2024) Northeast Monsoon affecting Luzon. Butuan City, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur, will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to Easterlies/Localized Thunderstorms. Possible flash floods or landslides during severe thunderstorms. Moderate to strong winds coming from Northeast to East will prevail with moderate to rough seas (1.2 to 2.8 meters).


Monday, 22 January 2024

DSWD hopeful of smooth transition of social pension for senior citizens

By Jennifer Gaitano

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Caraga Regional Director, Mari-Flor Dollaga-Libang, is optimistic that the social pension program for indigent senior citizens will smoothly continue as its implementation will transition to the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) this year.

During the recently held program implementation review in Butuan City, DSWD’s Assistant Regional Director for Operations (ARDO), Jean-Paul Parajes, revealed that the department is on transition period with NCSC, thereby endorsing the database of senior citizens in the region to the newly-created commission.

This is pursuant to the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11350, which created the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC).

A total of 188,010 senior citizens benefited from the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens Program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Caraga for the year 2023, totaling to more than P1 billion worth of cash aid. Photo courtesy of DSWD-Caraga.

Parajes recalled that this law creates the NCSC under the Office of the President. “The Commission is mandated to ensure the full implementation of laws, policies, and programs of the government for senior citizens, review and conduct related studies, and recommend policy to Congress and the President,” he said.

“Rest assured that the DSWD will continue its good working relationship with the National Commission of Senior Citizens and other government entities to ensure that the basic necessities of the sector are provided to them. We are delighted to know that more senior citizens are benefiting from the government’s aid that helps them cope with life’s challenges,” said Parajes.

According to Libang, for the past years, the Department has effectively reached out to the sector and provided them with financial support through the social pension.

“Under the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens Program, the Department was able to disburse a total of P1,099,440,500 to 188,010 beneficiaries across the region,” said Libang.

The National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC), together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Caraga, continues to encourage elders to register online and avail of the benefits for senior citizens. Photo courtesy of DSWD-Caraga.

The number of beneficiaries per headcount and corresponding amounts of assistance per province were tallied as follows: Agusan del Norte with 44,922 beneficiaries at P262,247,500; Agusan del Sur with 48,297 beneficiaries at P283,467,000; Province of Dinagat Islands with 11,800 beneficiaries at P68,398,000; Surigao del Norte with 36,774 beneficiaries at P215,962,000; and Surigao del Sur with 46,217 beneficiaries at P269,365,500.

Libang added that the SocPen program is just one of the many programs of DSWD to help and provide the necessary aid to the vulnerable sectors in the region, particularly the senior citizens.

She further explained that the NCSC has been constantly monitoring the progress of the program and encouraged those senior citizens who are yet to register to visit their website and register online to avail of the benefits offered by the government.

Regional Social Pension Unit (RSPU) Focal Person Rachel Bade also confirmed a monthly stipend increase for seniors from P500 to P1,000. 

“This positive development stems from Republic Act 11916, also known as the Social Pension for Indigent Seniors Act, which officially became law on July 30, 2022. The Central Office's memorandum on January 4, 2024, solidified the implementation of this much-needed adjustment,” Bade said.

Jessie Catherine Aranas, chief of the Protective Services Division (PSD) of DSWD-Caraga, thanked all its partners for their unwavering support. Emphasizing the pivotal role of these collaborators in the program's success against national targets, Aranas expressed her hopes for an even stronger partnership in 2024.

“The DSWD, being the chair of the Regional Inter-Agency Committee for Senior Citizens, together with its members from the different government agencies and private sector, will gear up efforts and initiatives to serve the best interests of our elderly persons in the region,” remarked Aranas.

“We look forward to having more senior citizens registered so they can also enjoy the benefits from the government,” Aranas added. 

The SocPen program is aligned with the government's commitment to social protection for the most vulnerable sector, supporting the full implementation of Republic Act 9994, amended by Republic Act 11916, the Social Pension for Indigent Seniors Act. 

The law provides a monthly stipend of P1,000, aiming to enhance the daily subsistence and address the medical needs of indigent senior citizens. (JPG, PIA-Caraga, with a report from DSWD-Caraga)