A party-list legislator on Tuesday renewed his appeal to senators to support the enactment of a bill that calls for a P1,000 increase in the social pension for elderly people.
Rep. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna said increasing the pension from P500 to P1,500 would be a big help for the elderly, especially those who are considered poor, in this time of pandemic.
“Today, during our celebration of the Elderly Filipino Week, we express support to all our elderly all over the country,” Zarate said.
At the same time, Zarate urged President Duterte to fulfill his promise for the P1,000 pension increase as “our senior citizens are practically crippled by poverty amidst this pandemic.”
The country has about 3.7 to 3.8 million poor elderly people, per the latest count of the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC).
Zarate, together with other members of Congress, earlier filed HB 9459 that seeks to increase the social pension of senior citizens.
The bill has already been approved by the House on final reading on August 21, 2021.
The counterpart bill was filed by Senate President Vincente Sotto III and is currently pending at the Committee on Justice headed by Sen. Richard Gordon.
“We earnestly request the Senate to deliberate and pass in the soonest possible time this long awaited measure by our elderly people. In this time of pandemic-aggravated crisis, many of our senior citizens surely need an increase from their current P500 per month social pension” said Zarate.
“The current social pension law suffers from various defects that need improvement. Not only is the P500 per month pension dismally low, but the law allows for the disqualification of many elderly due to its requirement that senior citizens must prove that they are ‘frail and sickly’ in order to qualify for social pension. Out of millions of senior citizens of the country, only less than half of them receive social pension,” he added.