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Over 173,000 elderly in BARMM to get an increase in monthly pension

A social welfare officer from the Ministry of Social Services and Development of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MSSD-BARMM) handed over a cash stipend to an elderly person from Sulu. According to social welfare officer Potre Nor-aliah Bubong, focal person of MSSD's Social Pension (SocPen) program, senior citizens will now be receiving a P1,000 social pension effective this year as compared to P500 in the previous years. (File photo courtesy of MSSD-BARMM)

COTABATO CITY (PIA) -- A total of 173,408 senior citizens from different areas in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) will receive their increase in social pension of P1,000 from P500 this year, the Bangsamoro government’s Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD-BARMM) announced.

Potre Nor-Aliah Bubong, social welfare officer and focal person of MSSD’s Social Pension (SocPen) program, said the increase aimed to provide augmentation for the medical needs of senior citizens in BARMM.

Para naman po sa unang semester nitong taong 2024, ay hinihintay pa po natin ang pondo para sa implementasyon po nito,” Bubong said during the Talakayang Dose radio program of the Philippine Information Agency, which airs every Friday on its regional and provincial Facebook pages.

[We are still waiting for the funds to implement this program in the first semester of 2024.]

According to Bubong, the increase in the social pension of senior citizens was approved under Republic Act 11916, or Act Increasing the Social Pension of Indigent Senior Citizens, which was signed into law on July 30, 2022.

Inaasahan po natin na nitong taong 2024 ay nasa 6,000 na po ang matatanggap ng ating mga benepisyaryo kada semester dahil duon sa pagkakapasa ng RA 11916,” she said.

[We expect some 6,000 beneficiaries to receive the increased amount of social pension this year.]

Elderly persons in the Bangsamoro region received their monthly allowance or social pension from MSSD, which now totals P1,000 this year pursuant to Republic Act 11916, or an Act Increasing the Social Pension of Indigent Senior Citizens. The increase aims to augment their medical needs and other personal necessities that their social pension may accord them. (File photo courtesy of MSSD-BARMM) 

The law provides a 100 percent increase in the monthly stipend to help indigent senior citizens keep up with the sustained price increases of various commodities.

Bubong cited the eligible senior citizens under the SocPen, which include elderly individuals who are poor or disabled, frail, sickly, or lacking regular income or family support. They do not receive pensions from Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association, Inc. (AFPMBAI), or any private insurance company. 

Budget po na inilaan ng DSWD Central Office sa MSSD para sa implementasyon ng programang social pension program ay nasa P2,080,896. Para sa buong taon na po ito,” she added.

[The DSWD Central Office has allocated a budget of P2,080,896 to MSSD for the implementation of the social pension program this year.]

Tandong Ali Akoy, one of the beneficiaries of SocPen from Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte, expressed her gratitude to the BARMM and national government for providing cash aid to senior citizens like her.

Kina kwa ko sa pensyon ko, kwana, nipasama ko sa maintenance ko sa gamut, nipamasa ko sa pegken nami, bali su nasama na, nipamasa ko sa sari sari a pendagangen,” she said in Maguindanaon.

[After I received my pension, I immediately bought medicine, food, and some supplies for my sari-sari store.]

To qualify for SocPen, applicants must be 60 years old or older, vulnerable, persons with disabilities, have no permanent support from family or relatives, and do not receive any pension from the government.

Documentary requirements include a birth certificate, identification from the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA), a certificate of indigency, and a whole-body picture with a calendar of the current year and month. (LTB - PIA Cotabato City)

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