social pensions in the Philippines

The city of San Fernando, in the Philippines, is an excellent example of how NOT to support older persons. According to a recent newspaper article, “The city is a pioneer is providing free movie access in various malls here as well as ensuring yearly programs and activities for seniors.”

Free movies and social activities, however, do not substitute for cash benefits. The requirements to qualify for a social pension in San Fernando are clearly designed to stigmatize rather than encourage participation.

[Jimmy Lazatin, Vice Mayor of the city, recently] expressed hope that more [older persons] will be placed under the social pensions under the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens. ….

Applicants or their representatives must bring an OSCA [Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs] ID, birth certificate and certificate of indigency upon the application of the program.

However, only citizens aged 60 and above who have no pension from private or government institutions, regular income, or support from their families may enroll in the program …. In 2011, the National Government … commenced the social pension program that aims to aid the indigent seniors aged 60 years old and above who have no pension from private or government institutions, regular income, or support from their families.

Ian Ocampo Flora, “Lazatin calls for more social programs for seniors“, Sun Star (Pampanga}December 2017.

The city of San Fernando, and the rest of the country, is in urgent need of pensions for all older persons. According to HelpAge, the modest monthly social pension of 500 pesos (10 US$) reaches only 35% of the population in the Philippines aged 60 or older.

 

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