Pension institution for poor senior citizens needed 

DSWD.GOV.PH

THE GOVERNMENT should shift its dole-out system for poor senior citizens into a pension fund to give them an opportunity to receive more benefits, a lawmaker said on Sunday.   

“I would like to see the day when the Indigent Seniors Social Pension (ISSP) program and the Centenarians Act cash grants are cared for and managed by the Social Security System or something like the SSS, and with more benefits for seniors,” Senior Citizens Party-list Rep. Rodolfo M. Ordanes said in a statement.   

Senior citizens who worked in the private sector get a pension from the SSS, while those from government service receive theirs from Government Service Insurance System.   

The Department of Social Welfare and Development handles the ISSP, which was previously set at P500 monthly.   

An increase to P1,000 monthly, which lapsed into law in August, was previously unfunded in the social welfare department’s budget. The House of Representatives made amendments allotting an additional P5 billion to the program in the 2023 General Appropriations Bill.  

“I envision an (indigent seniors pension program) that gets additional funding in the form of prepaid contributions from the families of the eventual seniors,” the congressman said.    

“What I mean is, before the seniors reach the age of 60, the children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, grandnephews, and grandnieces can make voluntary premium contributions to the ISSP account of their eventual seniors, so that when they do become seniors, they can receive additional benefits on top of the ISSP amount of P1,000.”   

Mr. Ordanes said the government can use various studies undertaken by international institutions as reference for improving the pension system for poor seniors, or those 60 years and above.     

“I will forward these studies to the Department of Finance, the Department of Budget and Management because they have financial geniuses who can understand and work out the details,” he said.   

Mr. Ordanes said the current pension program for indigent seniors also distributes cash inefficiently.   

Last week, the Philippines’ retirement income was ranked 43rd among 44 countries in Mercer-CFA Institutes Global Pension Index. — Matthew Carl L. Montecillo