A MINDANAO House leader on Friday proposed to double the monthly pension of millions of senior Filipino citizens to P1,000.
The proposal of Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez is contained in his House Bill (HB) 7266, which would amend Republic Act (RA) No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.
The law fixes the monthly stipend at P500 and provides very restrictive qualifications for seniors entitled to it.
Rodriguez, the chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments, said the allowance should at least be doubled to help senior citizens especially at this time of pandemic.
“P500 a month is not much. It’s not even enough for basic maintenance medicines,” said Rodriguez.
He said only 29 percent of the 7.5 million to eight million senior Filipino citizens receive the allowance “because the law is very restrictive.”
Under the law, a senior citizen can qualify for the stipend if he is “frail, sickly or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs, as determined by the Department of Social Welfare and Development…”
“Because of these restrictions, millions of senior citizens are being deprived of the social pension they are entitled to,” Rodriguez said.
His bill removes the phrase “frail, sickly and with disability”and without pension or Assistance from relatives. These requirements have eliminated countless seniors from receiving even the paltry P500.
Aside from doubling the stipend, his bill also removes the law’s restrictive provision.
“The objective of the law is to recognize the rights of senior citizens to take their proper place in society and make it a concern of the family, community and government, and to give full support to the improvement of the total well-being of the elderly and their full participation in society,” he said.
He added that all senior citizens should receive his proposed P1,000 monthly allowance from the government.
The only qualification the Rodriguez bill would impose on a recipient is that he/she should not be receiving pension from Any public or private pension of more than P4,000 a month. This is an initial amount, which can be gradually increased to be able to give to more seniors in the future.
Earlier, Rodriguez urged the Social Security System to release the additional P1,000 in the monthly pension of private sector retirees.