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Social pension helps indigent couple cope with financial strife

Indigent senior citizens receiving their social pension from DSWD during the payout. (File photo courtesy of DSWD7 Facebook page)

Conchita Lasconia, 72 of Talisay City, Cebu was worried about where she would get the money for her husband’s medicines. 

Her husband, Celestino, just survived a third heart attack that forced him to stop working as a carpenter. While not paralyzed, he needs constant care and supervision. 

Conchita recalls a time when she and Celestino used to earn good money from their combined income. 

“Sauna kusog among kita kay akong bana mamakyaw na siya, panday. Pagkasakit niya, wala na sya nagtrabaho. Ako sad, kusog akong tahi sauna kay manahi man ko,” said Conchita. 

(We used to earn a good income back when my husband was still working as a carpenter while I used to work as a seamstress.)

Conchita’s eldest child died at the age of 40 from complications of diabetes, while her second child has six children to feed on a minimum wage. 

With no other children who can help in their financial needs, Conchita had to rely on odd sewing jobs. 

“Karon kay tiguwang na ko, usahay na lang naay magpatahi ug kurtina,” she said.

(Now that I’m old, the sewing jobs are far fewer, mostly just sewing curtains.)

Things took a positive turn for Conchita and her husband when they turned 65 years old. 

Their barangay captain informed them that they were eligible to receive financial aid from the government, specifically the social pension from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for Conchita, and the cash assistance for senior citizens from the local government for Celestino. 

“Dako kaayo kog pasalamat nakadawat sa social pension. Dako kaayo ug natabang para sa among tambal, pagkaon. Basta daghan ug dako kaayo ug natabang,” said Conchita. 

(I am so happy that I’ve started receiving my social pension. It has been a big help over the years in paying for our medicines and food. It has really helped us a lot.) 

Conchita said she uses her stipend to buy food and medicines. .  

“Permirong gastuhan nako sa social pension ang tambal. Ug naay masobra ana, mao nay palit namo ug pagkaon,” she explained. 

(I first buy the medicines using my social pension. If there is still some money left over, I use that to buy food.) 

She thanked the government for providing cash aid for senior citizens like her. 

“Dako kog pasalamat sa gobyerno nga gitagaan nila ug kahigayonan ang mga tigulang nga naay extra nga ikagasto sa among pangunsomo, tambal kay nay maintenance. Dako kaayog natabang ang gobyerno namo,”said Conchita. 

(I would like to thank the government for giving senior citizens like me the cash grants so we can have money to spend for our daily needs and medicines. The government has been a big help to us.) 

An indigent senior citizen receives his P3,000 stipend during a semestral payout. (DSWD7 Facebook page)
Social pension 

DSWD reported that a total of 299,737 indigent senior citizens in Central Visayas received their P500 monthly stipend in 2023 through the social pension program of the agency. 

This translates to a total of P1.8 billion that was released for senior citizens in the region. 

DSWD distributed the amount through direct payouts and the transfer of funds to 80 local government units in the region that facilitated the payout for their constituents. 

Of the total indigent senior citizens who received their stipend, 127,439 were from Cebu, 99,490 from Bohol, 62,287 from Negros Oriental, and 10,521 from Siquijor.

More than 4 million indigent senior citizens nationwide received the social pension last year, of which 7 percent were from Central Visayas. 

DSWD’s social pension program covers indigent older people who are frail, sickly, or have a disability, or those who have no permanent source of income or regular support from their family.

They must have no pension from government or private agencies. 

It is given to eligible and qualified beneficiaries on a semestral basis to augment their daily subsistence and other medical needs. 

DSWD earlier announced that the monthly stipend will increase this year from P500 to P1,000 starting in February. 

This is mandated under Republic Act 11916, or Act Increasing the Social Pension of Indigent Senior Citizens, which was enacted in July 2022. 

The law provides for a 100 percent increase in the monthly stipend to help beneficiaries with the sustained price increase of various commodities. (RMN/PIA7) 

About the Author

Rachelle Nessia

Assistant Regional Head

Region 7

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