All families with senior citizens, including those who are recipients of pensions, must be included on the list of beneficiaries for the social amelioration program of the government, Senator Risa Hontiveros said Wednesday.
“Pension alone is not enough. A massive number of senior citizens who were left out of the initial DSWD memorandum only receives P5,000 or less a month under SSS and GSIS pension programs and only as mere supplement to their informal income,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“The exclusion of pensioned senior citizens ignores the fact that many of them who still work in the informal economy face even graver difficulties because they are deprived of livelihood amid this crisis,” she added.
She further said that even the elderly who are receiving financial support from their children must be included to alleviate the burden on the shoulders of breadwinners.
“Individuals supporting senior citizens already face difficulty in making ends meet prior to the economic stress brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hontiveros said as she cited the 2018 Longitudinal Study of Ageing and Health in the Philippines.
According to the inter-agency task force leading the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) response, senior citizens who are retirees and already receiving a monthly pension from the Government Service Insurance System and Social Security System, among other sources, will not be qualified under the scheme.
While pushing for inclusion of all senior citizens, Hontiveros said the elderly who are living with their spouses, those living unaccompanied, and those who are homeless must be given priority.
This would ensure that senior citizens—who belong to the vulnerable sector—will be able to afford basic necessities and prescribed medicines amid the health crisis.
Hontiveros filed a Senate Resolution No. 370 on April 27, urging the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to consider the said proposal.
Under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, the government should provide monthly emergency cash subsidies amounting to P5,000 to P8,000 to 18 million low-income families for two months while the country grapples with COVID-19.—AOL, GMA News