Octogenarians Salvador Pineda, 86, and Gabriela Sanchez, 86, are grateful for being Social Pension Program beneficiaries and for recently receiving their P2,400 additional cash subsidy under the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) program provided for by TRAIN law. Both senior citizens share that they will use their cash grants to buy food and medicines.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa gobyerno dahil sa tulong na ito ng cash grants lalo pa sa kalagayan kong ito. May dagdag pambili na ulit ako ng gamot ko para gumaling ang aking karamdaman at magkaroon pa ng mahabang buhay (I am thankful to our government because with this cash grants I can now buy my medicine for my ailment and hope to live a little longer).”
This was Lolo Salvador Pineda ‘s straightforward yet heartwarming message as he expressed his thoughts about the additional P2,400 he recently received from the government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). The amount is a subsidy under the Unconditional Cash Transfer (UCT) program-provided for in the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.
UCT is a cash subsidy provided for under the TRAIN law to help poor Filipinos cushion the adverse economic impact of the law. UCT will target to assist 10 million beneficiaries to include 4.4 million Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program beneficiaries, 3 million senior citizen-beneficiaries of the Social Pension Program, and 2.6 million individuals from the Listahanan or database of poor households. For 2018, the 10 million target beneficiaries will receive P200 per month or P2,400 for one year, while in 2019 and 2020, the aid will increase to P300 or P3,600 a year.
Born on Christmas Day in 1932, the eloquent and jolly octogenarian Lolo Salvador is also thankful for the monthly pension he is receiving under the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, another program implemented by the DSWD.
“Ngayon mayroon akong nakukuha, kung wala ito, malamang wala na din ako ngayon (Now I am receiving this cash assistance. Without this, I would be probably dead by now).”
He shared that he has been a beneficiary of the Social Pension for two years already and the P1,500 he receives every quarter has tremendously helped him in his daily living. Lolo Salvador who walks with a cane, said he has a lot of health problems.
Despite difficulties he encountered in life at the age of 86, Lolo Salvador still views things positively with eyes smiling saying, “Malaking bagay din sa akin itong dagdag na UCT grant. At kung meron pang maibibigay sa aming matatanda ay maganda, ngunit nasa sa gobyerno na iyon (The additional UCT cash grant is a big help to me. It would be good if they can give us, seniors, more benefits, but it is up to the government).”
Another 86-year-old beneficiary, Lola Gabriela Sanchez, is also thankful.
“Hindi masasabing sapat pero masaya ako dahil may pambili ako ng pagkain, merienda, saka gamot (I cannot say that the cash grant is enough, but I am happy because I now have some money to buy food, snacks, and medicines),” she said.
She shared that the social pension she receives, as well as the UCT cash grant, are helpful especially that her children cannot support her. Lola Gabriela said she lives from one child to another as she does not have a house of her own.
Lola Gabriela, however, expressed hope that the government would help them get health services for free.
She added, “Maganda na may suporta kami, pero kapag talagang nagkakasakit, kulang talaga din, lalo kung magbabayad sa doktor (It is good that we receive support, but whenever we get sick, the social pension is really insufficient, especially if you pay the doctor’s fee).”
This was affirmed by Conchita Tanhueco, 66, who receives the social pension and UCT cash grants in behalf of her paralyzed husband, Fernando Briones, 75. She said that she uses the cash to buy food.
Conchita added that she wants to have her husband undergo medical check-ups, but does not have the finances to do so. Similar with Lolo Gabriela, Conchita feels that full provision of health-related services for the elderly, especially those who are in their twilight years, will greatly help them experience healthy lives.
Nonetheless, Conchita expressed her gratitude to the social pension and additional UCT cash grants for her husband. She wished, however, that she too can one day be a beneficiary of the social pension program.
Social Pension provides P500 per month to help augment the daily subsistence of poor seniors who are frail, sickly or with a disability; with no regular income or support from family and relatives; and without a pension from private or government institutions.
DSWD Secretary Virgina Orogo said that the Department targets to complete the release of the subsidy before the end of the year or by September. She added that the Department hopes to be able to payout the cash grants of 8 million out of the 10 million target beneficiaries in July to include the 3 million social pensioners. DSWD SMS / MCAG