All 365,908 elderly pensioners in Western Visayas have received their stipend for the first semester of this year, totaling P1,097,724, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 6 said yesterday.
Each qualified senior citizen received P3,000, which is equivalent to their pension of P500 per month, from January to June.
DSWD community-based section head and social pension program focal person, Judith Barredo, said that they have completed the distribution of the social pension to indigent senior citizens in 133 local government units in the region on June 14.
“In spite of the risk, we tried and at least we hit the target before the end of June,” Barredo said.
She said they have to adjust their strategy amid the pandemic.
A big factor in the fast release of the pension was the sufficient number of personnel that allowed them to bring the payout down to the barangay level.
She also said that local government units assisted in identifying the venues of the payout in the barangays.
Hopefully, she said, that by next year they would be able to release the stipend through cash cards.
“We submit their names to the system that is being managed by our central office. Hopefully, by next year, the social pension of our beneficiaries will be through cash cards,” she added.
They are already processing the documents for the second-semester pension.
“Our preparations include updating our clean list, identification of special disbursing officers who can do the cash advance, and the release of stipend for the second semester,” Barredo said.
The social pension, as mandated in the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, seeks to augment the daily subsistence and medical needs of indigent elderly to improve their living conditions.
Annually, qualified recipients are entitled to a P6,000 stipend to be given in two tranches.
Meanwhile, there are no additional beneficiaries yet, in response to queries on possible inclusion to the program, Barredo said but current beneficiaries can avail of the Aid to Individuals in Crisis Situation if they have medical needs, such as maintenance medicines.*PNA