towards universal pensions in the Philippines

A Philippine Senator has introduced a bill in Congress to double the social pension for his elderly countrymen and remove the means test, leaving only a pension test. If his bill passes, every resident aged 60 years and older without access to a contributory pension will receive a monthly benefit of one thousand Philippine pesos (approximately 18.50 US dollars). Pension coverage, currently 72% of the country’s senior citizens, would increase to 100%.

The proposed social pension is far below the poverty line (8,378 pesos a month in 2014), but would mark a beginning towards guaranteed basic pensions for all in the Philippines.

Senator Juan Edgardo Angara has asked his colleagues in Congress to pass his bill that seeks to double the amount of social pension from the current P500 to P1,000, and to widen the coverage of beneficiaries ….

[Only a third] of the estimated 8.7 million elderly population are covered by contributory pensions such as the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Social Insurance System (GSIS).

Of the 5.8 million senior citizens with no contributory pension, only 3.4 million are currently covered by the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

To be eligible for the DSWD’s social pension program, which grants P500 every month, the senior must be frail, sickly or with disability; do not receive pension from state-run pension agencies; and do not have a permanent source of income or financial support from family or relatives.

This leaves 2.4 million elders with no pension at all. ….

“Under our proposed measure, as long as the senior citizen does not have any contributory pension, he or she will be qualified for the social pension” [Angara said].

Mario Casayuran, “Angara urges Congress to pass bill doubling pension for senior citizens“, Manila Bulletin, 8 September 2018.



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