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Friday, May 24, 2024

Agencies sign pact on better services for the elderly

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The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and three other government agencies are moving for the more efficient and speedy delivery of services for senior citizens and persons with disability.

DSWD officials signed on Friday Joint Memorandum Circular 1 (JMC), Series of 2023 that sets the guidelines on the reporting, monitoring, and utilization of funds for the implementation of the projects, programs, and activities for senior citizens and the disabled.

The three other JMC signatories include the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), and the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC).

Social Welfare Secretary Rex Gatchalian said the newly-signed agreement aims to make the whole government accountable to two of the most vulnerable sectors in society – the elderly and persons with disabilities (PWDs).

“We will turn it into real action by making sure that all government agencies, from the national government all the way to the LGUs [local government units], actually come up with programs that are meaningful and go beyond tokenism,” Gatchalian pointed out.

DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, in a prepared speech read by a DBM representative, assured senior citizens and PWDs that the Budget Department will fully support the smooth  implementation of the JMC.

“Through the issuance of this JMC, we trust that the monitoring and evaluation of the agencies implementing relative programs, projects and activities, in coordination with the NCSC and the NCDA, will translate towards a better set of data that will drive more meaningful future policy developments responsive to the emerging and holistic needs of older persons and persons with disability,” Pangandaman said in her message read by DBM Director Sofia Yanto-Abad.

NCDA officer-in-charge Deputy Executive Director Dandy Victa, for his part, emphasized the importance of investing in the target sectors to help them become productive citizens.

“We advocate for this basic economics that persons with disability should be part of a market, which means that disability support services are available for the development needs… but these cannot be
realized without the government investing in the human capital development of all sectors, including older persons with disability.

With this policy, we have an instrument that will ensure the programs, activities, and projects of senior citizens and persons with disability are implemented, monitored, and evaluated,” Victa said.

NCSC chairman, lawyer Franklin Quijano, meanwhile, reinforced the message of monitoring the agreement by saying, “we will be watching everyone to use and support this JMC for the senior citizens and persons with disability.”

The new JMC provides provisions with the reporting and monitoring process of all agencies of the government toward the judicious implementation of Section 36 of the General Provisions (GP 36) under
Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 (GAA).

“All agencies of the government shall formulate plans, programs, and projects intended to address the concerns of Senior Citizens and Persons with Disability, in so far, as it relates to their mandated functions and integrate the same in their regular activities,” the JMC
read.

The JMC mandates collaboration among the four government agencies to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the provision of the GAA,
which requires all agencies of the government to coordinate plans, programs, and projects that are intended to address the concerns of senior
citizens and persons with disability.

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