WV’s elderly social pension payout nearly complete

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Almost all indigent senior citizens in Western Visayas have received their financial assistance for the first semester of this year from the social pension program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

DSWD-6 Director Atty. Carmelo N. Nochete, in a press conference on Tuesday, June 11, stated they have achieved a 99.99 percent distribution in the first semester (first and second quarters), with the remaining beneficiaries expected to receive their assistance this week.

“There are 385,954 senior citizens who are social pensioners. For the first semester, we disbursed a total of P2.3 billion,” he added.

The province of Iloilo has the highest number of beneficiaries with 152,748 elderly; followed by Capiz with 56,265; Negros Occidental with 54,380; Aklan with 46,142; Antique with 41,972; Guimaras with 14,767; Iloilo City with 13,676; and Bacolod City with 5,975.

In the social pension program, beneficiaries receive P1,000 per month, totaling P6,000 per semester. This year, the initial distribution was released cumulatively at the end of the first semester.

Unlike the initial payout, Nochete said the P6,000 cash assistance will be distributed on a monthly basis.

“It will be given monthly since the beneficiaries need it on a monthly basis. If we release it at the end of the semester, they might not be able to buy their maintenance medicines early on,” he explained.

There will also be two systems for releasing the social pension stipend in the second semester this year: direct release and fund transfer to the local government unit (LGU).

In the direct release method, DSWD staff will directly distribute the stipend to the elderly. In the fund transfer method, the budget will be transferred to the LGU, which will then be responsible for the stipend’s release.

The fund transfer method is being utilized due to the limited number of DSWD Special Disbursing Officers, who are also needed to complete the liquidation process before making another cash advance.