House Approves Universal Social Pension Bill for Seniors

The Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens (SPISC) is a program that helps beneficiaries with their daily subsistence and medical needs. As per Republic Act No. 7432, indigent senior citizens are entitled to a monthly stipend of PHP 1,000.

But what about other senior citizens? They need help with their daily expenses, too. Fortunately, there’s good news, as the House of Representatives has recently approved on the third and final reading a bill granting social pension to all Filipino senior citizens.

House Approves Universal Social Pension for Seniors Bill
April 15, 2024 – A senior citizen receives her social pension from DSWD Region II in Basco, Batanes.
Image Credit: DSWD Region II

House of Representatives Approves Bill on Final Reading

On Tuesday, 21 May 2024, the House of Representatives passed with 232 affirmative votes House Bill (HB) 10423, the Philippine News Agency reported. This bill seeks to expand the current social pension program by including all senior citizens, not just indigents.

If the bill is enacted into law, all senior citizens (who are not indigents) will be entitled to receive a monthly stipend of PHP 500. The bill also states that within five years, all seniors will be entitled to a universal social pension of at least PHP 1,000 — regardless of other benefits they may receive from other pension providers.

Ensuring the Health and Well-Being of All Seniors

According to the bill’s author, United Senior Citizens Party-list Rep. Milagros Aquino-Magsaysay, the approval is a “significant step” towards ensuring the health and well-being of all senior citizens.

“The passage of the Universal Social Pension Bill is not just for those who have walked before us, but for the generations whose journeys have only begun,” she stated. “It ensures that no Filipino senior citizen today or tomorrow will ever be left behind or forgotten. It is about time that all Filipinos have a pension.”

The bill also seeks transfer of the program’s management from DSWD to the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) within three years. The DSWD, Department of Budget and Management, and other stakeholders are tasked with reviewing and adjusting (if necessary) the amount of social pension every two years.

Other Bills for Seniors and PWDs Approved

Aside from the Universal Social Pension Bill, the House also approved on the final reading three measures that aim to expand the benefits of senior citizens and persons with disability (PWDs).

The three bills are as follows:

  • HB 10312, which proposes that the mandatory 20-percent deduction, value-added tax (VAT) exemption, and special discount on basic necessities and prime commodities be applied in addition to any prevailing offers extended by business establishments;
  • HB 10313, which mandates a dedicated section in the eGov PH mobile app to assist senior citizens and PWDs in accessing government services; and
  • HB 10314, which aims to rationalize the benefits and privileges of senior citizens and PWDs to ensure equitable access to essential services. This includes a 20-percent discount and VAT exemption on parking fees and the use of expressways and skyways, along with a 15-percent discount on the monthly usage of water and electricity for the first 100-kilowatt hours and 30 cubic meters, respectively.

In addition, other bills that were approved on final reading were: House Bill 10174, which converts the Dr. Eva Macaraeg-Macapagal National Center for Geriatric Health into the National Center for Geriatric Health and Research Institute; and House Bill 10188, which aims to protect senior citizens from fraudulent acts committed through mail, telemarketing, and the Internet.

Final Thoughts

Without a doubt, a Universal Social Pension would greatly benefit all Filipino senior citizens; it is a much-needed monthly stipend that would definitely support them in the years to come!

Another DSWD initiative for seniors is the Home Care Support Services for Senior Citizens (HCSSSC). Visit this link to learn more about this program!