More indigent senior citizens of the country are getting P6,000 yearly pension from the Philippine government as one of its poverty alleviation program is poised to add into coverage 443,332 new beneficiaries.
Qualified to receive the P500 monthly dole out under the law are senior citizens who are frail, sickly, or have disabilities and are not receiving pension from Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), or Veterans pension. The benefit will also cover those without a permanent source of income or regular support from relatives.
The budget for the government’s social pension program for indigent senior citizens jumped to P8.7 billion this year from P5.7 billion last year, effectively increasing the number of recipients from 939,609 to 1,382,941.
The monetary dole out is mandated under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 which provides P500 monthly pension for a yearly sum of P6,000 to qualified indigent seniors.
The pension is distributed every quarter through cash payment by Department of Social Welfare and Development field offices or city or municipal social welfare and development offices.
Other than the indigent seniors pension program, the DSWD handles Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Project and several more poverty alleviation program funds distribution.
The manner of qualifying and inclusion into the official roster of beneficiaries has placed the agency into the center of controversy. The distribution of funds also became suspect of alleged source of graft and corruption in the agency.
For the government centerpiece of poverty alleviation program of 4P’s, majority of monetary benefits are distributed through cash and received by beneficiaries from the agency’s representatives or conduit bank personnel instead of checks payable to beneficiaries which would have made it easy to account and conduct a paper trail audit. Sometimes, cash money for distribution are lost to robbers by disbursing personnel of conduit banks.
But then, indigent seniors and enrolled 4P’s beneficiaries do not have bank accounts or can not afford to maintain one, which made them vulnerable to abuse and open a potential source of corruption and deceit on the part of disbursing personnel.