TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in Eastern Visayas is stepping up its information drive to counter text scams promising relief allowance for older persons and retirees.

DSWD Eastern Visayas regional information officer Jonalyndie Chua sounded the alarm that scammers are using different platforms to dupe unsuspecting seniors, and urged the latter not to entertain text messages about relief allowances.

“We have received a report from a concerned citizen that there is a text message circulating over mobile phone users regarding the alleged unclaimed relief allowances for senior citizens and retired business owners,” Chua said in a phone interview Thursday.
The case prompted the DSWD to double its information drive on the social pension program for senior citizens in the region.

The official clarified that there is no membership fee to become a potential beneficiary of the program. She added that all applicants are potential beneficiaries because they will go through thorough validation if qualified based on the program’s eligibility requirements.
“The validation is done by the staff of the Department of Social Welfare and Development together with our local government and not by authorized persons via text messaging,” she added.

Chua emphasized that no organization is authorized to collect fees for the application to become social pension beneficiaries.

She said the additional PHP500 social pension mandated under Republic Act No. 11916 is not yet implemented pending the issuance of the law’s implementing rules and regulations.
The DSWD encourages senior citizens or their families to inquire from the official page of the DSWD regional office or visit the DSWD provincial offices, city or municipal social welfare and development offices, and local senior citizens affairs offices.

Social pension is additional government assistance in the amount of PHP500 monthly stipend to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of indigent elderlies, subject to a review every two years by Congress in consultation with the DSWD.
Indigent senior citizens refer to any elderly who is frail, sickly, or with a disability; without a pension; and no permanent source of income, compensation, or financial assistance from relatives to support his or her basic needs. (PNA)