Indigent senior citizens in the country will be receiving six months' worth of their pension in advance to help them sustain their needs amid the ongoing threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
In a video message, Senior Citizens party-list Representative Francisco Datol Jr. said the advanced pension along with the delayed grants from 2019 for senior citizens will be available for claiming soon.
"Yung ating kahilingan tungkol sa naantalang social pension ng 2019 ay ida-download na ng DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) para yung mga senior citizen ay matanggap na yung mga hinihintay nilang pension noon pang 2019," he said.
"At pagkatapos, yung advance ng budget ng 2020, anim na buwan ang hintayin niyo, pagsasabayin na yun ng DSWD. Ito ay mga kahalingin ko na natupad na," he added.
Indigent senior citizens receive P500 monthly in social pension.
Datol had asked the DSWD last year why many beneficiaries had not yet received their pension from 2019. The department said that the seniors' database went through verification following orders from President Rodrigo Duterte.
For that year, 3,796,791 indigent senior citizens were supposed to get their pensions.
Datol urged senior citizens to stay in their homes and wait for the assistance to be given to them.
"Marami pang biyaya ang tatanggapin niyo dahil alam ng ating Pangulo, ng ating pamahalaan, ng mga departamento ng gobyerno na ang sektor natin ay the most vulnerable sector ng ating lipunan," he said.
"Kaya nga sa sandaling ito, maghintay-hintay kayo at yung mga senior citizen na hindi pa dinadapuan ng mga biyaya, i-text lang ninyo sa atin dito sa Kongreso o sa aking email. Tandaan niyo, mabibiyayaan ang hindi pa nabibiyayaan," he added.
Meanwhile, DSWD Undersecretary Camilo Gudmalin said senior citizens who receive pension are ineligible for the government's social amelioration program, or the assistance distributed to low-income families during the COVID-19 crisis.
"However 'yung ating mga senior citizens who are also beneficiaries of social pension, they will be receiving very soon 'yung kanilang social pension para matugunan 'yung mga pangangailangan ng ating senior citizens," he said at a livestreamed briefing. --with Nicole-Anne C. Lagrimas/KBK/RSJ, GMA News