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Ilocana social pensioner talks about life, shares secret at 91

Aimed at improving the living condition of eligible indigent senior citizens, the Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD) continuously implements its expanded social pension program.
This benefits thousands of indigent senior citizens in Ilocos Region receiving a monthly P500 stipend.
Recently, the staff of the DSWD Field Office I Social Pension Program Management Office (SPPMO) personally went to one of the far-flung municipalities in Ilocos Sur and distributed stipend to the beneficiaries.
One of these was Martina Layog, 91, from Barangay Aluling, Cervantes, Ilocos Sur.
Contrary to her age, Lola Martina depicts a strong and cheerful aura.
She said thinking positively is one of her ingredients in living this way.
“Mayat ti agbiag lalo no manag-isemtayo tapno saan a bumaket ti itsuratayo (It is good to live especially if we are always smiling so that we won’t look old),” she happily said.
She then shared her secret in managing problems amid hardships in life.
“Kaasi met ni Apo no adda dumteng a problema, ket masolbar met latta uray kasatno rigat ti biag – be happy kanayon uray ania ti mangmangyari tapno nalag-an ti panagbiag (When a problem comes, we do our best to solve it how difficult life may be, and to always be grateful for life no matter what it may bring),” she said.
As she commits to living healthy, she uses some of her monthly stipend to purchase food, especially vegetables, in their community.
“Nateng laeng ti kankanek talaga. Iso ti maysa a pang-ususarak ti pension ko a naggapu ti DSWD,” (I only eat vegetables, and I use some of my pension to buy it),” she said.
Aside from this, she added that she also never skips to drink milk.
Lola Martina then expressed her gratitude to the DSWD for coming to their barangay and providing their stipend.
This is a result of the sustained efforts of the DSWD-Field Office 1 SPPMO in coordination with the local government units (LGUs), the DSWD City and Municipal Operations Offices (C/MOOs), and the Social Welfare and Development Team Leaders especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We allowed electronic sending of authorization letters for those who cannot claim their pension in person. In this way, the DSWD staff and pensioners will be safe from COVID-19,” said SPPMO head Eliza Aromin.
The DSWD Field Office 1 reported some 205,291 social pensioners who received their stipend for the first quarter, 203,499 social pensioners in the second quarter, and 103,316 in the third quarter of 2022.
Aromin then called on social pensioners and/or their immediate families to communicate with their LGUs if they have not yet received their stipend.
Based on Memorandum Circular No. 16 series of 2021, the absence of one quarterly payout shall cause suspension of the right on the stipend if unclaimed within six months.
The SPPMO recorded a total of 206,074 pensioners this year.
Lola Martina is only one of the hundreds of thousands of pensioners in the region.
A genuine testament on the effects of various developmental programs by providing additional government assistance, hence, alleviating poverty in indigent communities.
Before taking a photo with the DSWD staff, she happily said, “Isem latta uray awanen ti ngipin (Let’s smile even without teeth).” (JCR/AMB/JMCQ, PIA Ilocos Sur with reports from DSWD-1))

About the Author

Joyah Mae Quimoyog


Region 1

A writer based in the heritage province of Ilocos Sur.

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