MANILA -- A lawmaker is seeking to increase the monthly pension given to indigent senior citizens who are 70 years old and above.
House Bill 2653, introduced by House deputy minority leader and Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr., proposed to amend the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, which provides P500 monthly stipend for all indigent Filipinos 60 years old and above.
According to Campos, it is the mandate of the 1987 Constitution "to care for the elderly through just programs of social security, and to provide improved quality of life for all."
"We have to extend greater financial support to extremely deprived seniors who tend to be weaker and more vulnerable owing to their highly advanced age," Campos said.
He also said that an allowance of P2,000 per month or P24,000 a year would be a bigger help for poverty-stricken senior citizens who are at least 70 years old.
Campos noted that the Congress, which is supposed to review the monthly subsidy every two years, "has not raised the pension in the last six years."
The lawmakers' proposal came as the national government prepares to spend some P17.94 billion for senior citizens, which is double the amount the government is spending this year for the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens Program.
According to the report submitted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to the Congress, the amount increased because the government has also doubled the targeted beneficiaries.
Indigent senior citizens refer to all Filipinos who are 60 years old and above who are without regular pension from Social Security System (SSS) or the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), or lacking permanent source of income, compensation, or regular and appropriate financial assistance from relatives.