MANILA — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Tuesday appealed for additional funds for its various aid programs as it faced an P8-billion cut in the proposed 2023 budget.
DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo sought more funds in particular for the pension of indigent senior citizens, the cash gift for centenarians, and the supplemental feeding program.
"For Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, an additional P25.7 billion [is needed] for the increase in stipend from P500 to P1000 monthly... pursuant to RA 11961," Tulfo told the House Committee on Appropriations during his agency's budget briefing.
"For the implementation of the centenarian program, [we need an] additional P66.2 million to serve the eligible waitlisted centenarians," he said. "For 2023, we have a proposed budget of P175.1 million for 1,675 centenarians that we have right now. "
Tulfo said 662 centenarians were waiting to avail of the program, prompting Albay First District Rep. Edcel Lagman to suggest a funding source.
"Those [who are] waitlisted cannot wait because by the time you grant them the benefits they have been looking for baka (perhaps) they are not here with us anymore," Lagman said.
"I will suggest that you should not wait for the enactment of the GA 2023 in order to fund the requirements for the 662. I would suggest that please look at the President's Contingent Fund, baka makakuha kayo doon ng pondo para 'di gaano maghihintay itong mga centenarians," he added.
(You could get funds there so that these centenarians need not wait that long.)
The DSWD also needs P2.5 billion for its supplementary feeding program, to raise the per capita cost of hot meals to P27 from P15, and milk to P21 from P19, Tulfo added.
He said the DSWD proposed a P196.775-billion for next year, down from P204.75 billion in 2022.