TACLOBAN CITY—About 102 indigent senior citizens from this city are to receive their monthly social pension of P500. According to Luz Peñaranda, social welfare assistant for social pension of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO), these senior citizens but indigents were the only recipients for this year since they were identified by the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR).

“As much as possible, we wanted to cover all the indigent seniors to avail the said pension but the survey was conducted by DSWD and not by our office,” she added. The guidelines of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is based on the guidelines of Commission on Audit that mandates that only those surveyed are eligible to receive the social pension. The giving of social pension to indigent senior citizens is mandated under Section 5 of Republic Act 9994 or the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.” The P500 monthly stipend aims to improve their living condition by helping them in their needs such as medicines and food.

The priority and qualified beneficiaries of the social pension are senior citizens 77 years old and above who are frail, sickly, and disabled; without a regular source of income and/or support from any member of the family; and not receiving other pension benefits from the government and private agencies like SSS, GSIS, Veterans Pension, among others. The indigent senior citizens are identified through the NHTS-PR, also known as “Listahanan,” an information management system that the government uses in identifying who and where the poor are. “We requested to survey again the senior citizens of Tacloban in order to include all the members but we still don’t know if the DSWD will conduct such survey again,” Peñaranda shared. The NHTS-PR aims to address poverty through a scientific and target-focused strategy. The basis for identifying social pensioners is the Listahanan database and listing submitted by the Local Social Welfare Officers, and the Federation of Senior Citizens in the various localities. (JEFFREY D.CONSULTADO, LNU Intern)