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Poe proposes universal social pension for seniors

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By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Grace Poe is seeking the approval of the measure that will provide a universal social pension for all senior citizens.

Senator Grace Poe (Senate of the Philippines official Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

Senator Grace Poe
(Senate of the Philippines official Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

Poe recently filed Senate Bill 1750, which pushes the amendment of the Republic Act 7432, as amended by RA 9994 or the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.”

The senator, with her bill, aims that all senior citizens be provided with a monthly pension of P1,500.

In filing the measure, Poe said senior citizens “require special attention” as they are an “extremely vulnerable group.”

“They encounter many challenges which are difficult to hurdle due to their old age,” she added.

In the absence of employment, she said senior citizens rely on other sources of income such as assistance from their children, or on contributory pension from the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

“However, these sources are not enough,” Poe said. “Contributory pensions are often limited in their coverage..and receipt of contributory pension is not a guarantee of income security,” she noted.

Poe also cited a 2017 study which found that over 70 percent of the economically-active population are not contributing to pension.

Under the RA 9994, only indigent senior citizens are entitled to a monthly stipend of P500 to augment their daily subsistence and medical needs.

In her proposed amendment, Poe said she wants all senior citizens to receive an increased stipend of P1,500.

To cushion the potential shock on the government budget, the bill proposed that senior citizens who are covered by the SSS, GSIS, and military pension will not be eligible to the social pension until three years after the proposed law’s effectivity..

She said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) may increase or revise the amount of the social pension, “provided, that the social pension shall not be less than the amount specified.”

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