PUERTO PRINCESA CITY — More than 10,000 indigent senior citizens of Puerto Princesa received P2,400 cash grant each under the Unconditional Cash Transfer Program (UCT) of the national government.
The release of the cash grant was facilitated by LandBank of the Philippines and was supervised by representatives from the Regional Office of Department of Social Welfare and Development Office. This activity is coordinated with City Social Welfare and Development Office headed by Lydia Del Rosario and the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs of Puerto Princesa headed by OSCA Head Mercedes T. Avancena.
The first batch of indigent senior citizens receiving cash grant was released on July 21 and 22, 2018 at PALECO Gym, Puerto Princesa City and the second batch received the cash grant on July 29, 2018. The 2018 allocation for the UCT for the senior citizens of Puerto Princesa is P24,187,200 and this is the first time that senior citizens of Puerto Princsa received UCT cash grant.
OSCA Head Avancena clarify that not all senior citizens of Puerto Princesa can avail of the UCT. Only those that qualify as indigents can avail of the cash grant. “As much as we want to give the UCT cash grant to all senior citizens of Puerto Princesa, RA 9994 otherwise known as Expanded Senior Citizen Act of 2010 defined the beneficiary. These are senior citizens who are without pension or permanent source of income, compensation, or regular and appropriate financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs. Avancena further stated that “Our Office with CSWDO determines if a senior citizen is an indigent.”
The cash grant under UCT Program of the national government is only one of the many benefits and privileges a Filipino citizen aged 60 years and over can avail. RA 7432 or the Expanded Senior Citizen Act of 2003, RA 9994, an amended act of RA 7432 and RA 10645, an amendment to RA 9994 are the laws that provide guiding rules for the benefits and privileges for senior citizen.
The widely known benefit of being a senior citizen according to OSCA Head Avancena is the 20% discount on transportation for land, air and sea. However, she highlighted that the 20% discount also applies to medicine and drug purchases including professional fees of attending physician; hotels, restaurants, recreational centers and funeral services. There is also 5% discount on utility provided the meter is registered under the name of the senior citizen and does not exceed 100 kWh and 30 m3. The express lane is another benefit which senior citizens are now emphasizing as their rights. Many establishments are now providing facility for the express lane for senior citizen and special to the City is the free movie every Monday (the first show) at Robinson’s and SM Malls.
“Although the discount and express lane are popular, senior citizens look forward to the financial benefits they will receive; hence our Office with the Office of Mayor Lucilo Bayron and CSWDO are working hand in hand to ensure that financial benefits are received by senior citizens of Puerto Princesa.” says Avancena.
Under the national government program, indigent senior citizens can receive the UCT of P200 per month and social pension of P500 per month. The City also provides P600 per quarter as financial allowance to all senior citizen of Puerto Prinesa regardless of their economic status.
For the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2018, social pension for senior citizens of Puerto Princesa was released on July 25 to 27 at the City Coliseum. The release was coordinated by OSCA and City Social Welfare and Development Office. The allocation for these quarters amounted to P30,222,000.
Activities relating to release of financial benefits and other activities of senior citizens are discussed during the monthly meeting of the Federation of Senior Citizen Association of the Puerto Princesa (FSCAP). This meeting is attended by all presidents of senior citizens of the 66 barangays in Puerto Princesa. The president relays the information to their respective constituents.