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Aid to poor elderly ‘far from sufficient’

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By Elallyn De Vera

The head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is seeking additional assistance for the country’s indigent senior citizens, who get “far from sufficient” aid.

“Much has to be done to take care of our senior citizens, especially those who have no means to sufficiently sustain themselves,” DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said.

The DSWD maintains four residential care for persons ages 60 and above who are abandoned and neglected: Golden Acres, Haven for Elderly in Tanay, Rizal; Home for the Elderly in Zamboanga City; Home for the Aged in Tagum City; and Golden Reception and Center for Elderly and other special needs (GRACES) in Quezon City.

The centers have a combined budget of P60,911,280. As of September 30, P38,311,087.13 or 62.9 percent of the allotted budget for the centers have been utilized.

“Our records show that we need more centers, or we need to expand their respective bed capacity and facilities. Our centers, including our centers for senior citizens, need to be improved so they can admit more of our neglected elderly members,” Taguiwalo said.

The DSWD continues to provide social pension for indigent senior citizens, especially those who are frail, sickly, do not receive any pension, and have no other source of income and support coming from their families.

The pension, given quarterly, amounts to P500 per month.

“For this year, we have a total budget of P8,255,820,000 for the social pension of 1,375,970 target beneficiaries. Some 54.20 percent or P4,243,330,500 of the said allocation has already been utilized for this year,” Taguiwalo said.

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