by: Krisha Mae Bongalos and Jerico Xyril Levita
Officials of Brgy. Mayondon, together with the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA), recently concluded the validation and assessment of 21 new senior citizen pensioners in the barangay.
According to Councilor Emeleano F. Lontoc, barangay committee head for social welfare, the new pensioners are elderly citizens who are at least 74 years old, not capable of supporting themselves, and not receiving pension funds from either the Social Security System or the Government Service Insurance System.
In addition, they should not be receiving financial assistance from relatives.
In Mayondon, the beneficiaries of the program are usually aged 78 or 79 years.
According to records at the barangay office, beneficiaries of the program were recorded at 118 senior citizens in 2018. With the additional 21 senior citizens, the number of residents receiving financial assistance has increased by almost 20%.
The current budget allows for each registered senior citizen to receive P1,500.00 per quarter. Lontoc said that given additional budget, the amount may increase to P2,400.00.
This financial assistance is additional to the benefits currently enjoyed by senior citizens in the country, as mandated by law. Any senior citizen who presents a valid OSCA ID is entitled to 20% discount on essentials, such as medicine and food after value-added tax has been removed from the product price.
Lontoc said that the program is important because it ensures support for beneficiaries, epecially the residents he described as “walang-wala” (having nothing), with food. He said that the money is used mostly to buy food.
However, he cannot ensure the widening of the program’s implementation due to limited budget. Still,members of his committee remain hopeful that more beneficiaries will be accepted in the future.