Government ‘gives back’ to elderly sector with Social Pension Act

MANILA—The Senate will monitor the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 11916, or the Social Pension for Indigent Seniors Act, which lapsed into law on July 30.

Calling it a “great legacy” of the 18th Congress, RA 11916 is also the best gift that the Marcos administration can give to some 4 million Filipinos aged 60 and above, according to the bill’s principal author, Senator Joel Villanueva.

Sen. Sonny Angara said, “It’s time to give back” to the sector that has contributed in a lot of ways to society.

He said the Senate will make sure that the law, which doubled the P500 monthly pension for indigent senior citizens, will be implemented.

“We are thankful that the measure seeking to add social pension for our senior citizens was already passed into law, making their pension P1,000 per month,” Angara said in a statement.

The National Commission of Senior Citizens, which will be under the Office of the President, will distribute the pension, instead of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

With the passage of RA 11916, co-author Senator Grace Poe said the government is now affording elders the opportunity to receive better health and life care.

“Aside from a higher pension, an important aspect of this law is its adaptive character, which allows for an adjustment of the social pension, if necessary, every two years subject to review and consultation and taking into account the prevailing consumer price index,” Poe explained in her manifestation on Tuesday.

Poe thanked her colleagues for supporting RA 11916, especially Villanueva whom she said would have a “meaningful birthday celebration.”

“Happy birthday indeed. The measure doubling the pension of indigent senior citizens is already a law. Praise God!” Villanueva, who turned 47 on Tuesday, said in a statement.

Poe likewise extended the Senate’s gratitude to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for recognizing and acting on the needs of senior citizens.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) was commended for its recently approved additional hemodialysis sessions. PhilHealth recently announced on social media that its Board of Directors approved raising the maximum number of sessions from 90 to 144 until the end of the year.

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday appealed to PhilHealth to further increase the sessions to 156 yearly and make it permanent. “A big thanks to PhilHealth for heeding our call to continue the coverage of 144 dialysis session this year. This is a big help for our countrymen,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

Dialysis diverts blood to a machine for cleansing to remove waste products and excess fluid when the kidneys are not working properly.

Hontiveros vowed to re-file her bill, seeking to institutionalize the provision of 144 dialysis sessions for senior citizens.

PhilHealth said it will issue the necessary guidelines for the added hemodialysis sessions through a circular.

“For the meantime, it is directing all its regional offices and concerned health-care facilities to continue honoring all availments beyond the 90-session limit as duly prescribed by a PhilHealth accredited physician,” PhilHealth said in a statement. PNA

Image credits: PNA/Gil Calinga