The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) continues to cleanse its list of beneficiaries of the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens to ensure that only eligible seniors will receive the P500 monthly subsidy provided by the government.
The cleansing of the list, through validation of eligible beneficiaries, stemmed from the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte following complaints on the inclusion of unqualified beneficiaries received via the 8888 hotline. Likewise, the Commission on Audit (COA), in its recent audit findings on the program has called the attention of the Department on the same issue.
DSWD uses the criteria stated under Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 to undertake the validation, such as senior citizens, 60 years old above, who are frail, sickly, or with disability; no pension from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association, Inc. (AFPMBAI), or any other insurance company; no permanent source of income; and no regular support from family or relatives for his/her basic needs.
DSWD has collaborated with the SSS, GSIS, and PVAO for cross-checking of beneficiaries vis-à-vis their database for pensioners.
Even prior to the COA findings, the Department has already started its validation process. As of July 23, 2019, the DSWD has validated 75.5% eligible seniors out of the 3.4 million target beneficiaries for this year. Validation of the remaining beneficiaries is ongoing. While the validation continues, DSWD Field Offices which have completed their own validation process have started releasing the cash subsidy to the qualified beneficiaries.
DSWD acknowledges the COA report as a means to improve its systems and correct lapses in operations. It will continue to collaborate with COA in responding to the issues on the program through its Task Force Consolidated Annual Audit Report (CAAR).
DSWD encourages the public to give feedback to the Department, especially if they know of beneficiaries who are receiving the subsidy and yet, are also SSS/GSIS/PVAO pensioners, as part of its sincere effort to clean its database and in adherence to transparency and accountability in its program implementation. -30-