224K E. Visayas seniors await social pension this Christmas

224K E. Visayas seniors await social pension this Christmas

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is eyeing the release of the 2020 social pension to 224,993 senior citizens in Eastern Visayas this December.

They are from the 101 local government units (LGUs) that have processed the requirements for the transfer of fund (TOF) and 28 for a cash advance through the DSWD’s special disbursing officers (SDO), said Mavis Mae Baoy, the program’s focal person in the region.

Among the towns that applied for TOF and already claimed their checks for the LGU-led payout are Mahaplag, Calubian, Babatngon, Hilongos, and Javier in Leyte; Culaba and Maripipi in Biliran; and Tarangnan and Zumarraga in Samar.

“The target payout through LGUs and SDOs is within this month in time for the holiday season. There is also an agreement that LGUs must complete the payout not later than December 19,” Baoy said in a virtual press briefing on Wednesday.

Each senior citizen is entitled to a PHP500 monthly stipend but will receive the amount equivalent to 12 months or PHP6,000.

She said the field office here targets to cover a total of 260,617 beneficiaries for 2020.

However, the fund for the remaining 35,624 senior citizens from the 14 LGUs that did not apply for TOF would be obligated this month for release next year, Baoy added.

“Automatically, the modality of payout for those who did not apply for the fund transfer is through our SDOs. The problem is we have limited manpower and our SDOs still have existing cash advances,” she added.

These LGUs are Hernani, Gen. MacArthur, Quinapondan, and Borongan City in Eastern Samar; Burauen, Dagami, and Villaba in Leyte; Catubig, Talalora, and Calbayog City in Samar; Macrohon and Anahawan in Southern Leyte; and Catubig in Northern Samar.

Baoy noted that they did not apply for the LGU-led payout due to time constraints as they would be closing their accounts by year-end, while others wanted the DSWD to directly handle grievances and questions from recipients.

The field office, she said, also required reports for backtracking and reconciliation of data from some LGUS with report discrepancies in previous years but did not comply.

Under Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, only 60-year-old Filipino citizens who are sickly, frail, disabled, without regular compensation, pension, or support from relatives can avail of the monthly stipend they could use to augment their daily subsistence and other medical needs.

 “The revalidation and cross-matching of the list are ongoing due to inclusion of non-eligible senior citizens and double or triple entries in the list,” Baoy said.

 For the 2019 social pension, the DSWD has released more than PHP1.3 billion for some 226,504 beneficiaries in the region, representing 81.83 percent of the target.

 The field office here already served 95,660 seniors in Leyte, 33,000 in Samar, 30,035 in Northern Samar, 29,271 in Eastern Samar, 25,470 in Southern Leyte, and 13,068 in Biliran as of December 8.

The payout in different provinces is ongoing, Baoy said. (PNA)

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