The National Commission on Senior Citizens (NCSC) on Thursday announced that the increase in the monthly social pension of indigent senior citizens could be enforced starting January 2023.
During the Laging Handa public briefing, NCSC chairperson Franklin Quijano said Congress would first have to approve the budgetary requirement for the new law, which raises the monthly social pension of indigent senior citizens from PHP500 to PHP1,000.
“Ang effectivity natin is sa 2023 kasi we are in the middle of the year, eh hindi naman puwedeng lumabas kaagad iyong pera kung walang budget. At kung maipapalabas naman, dapat may budgetary process iyan, which Congress will have to approve (The effectivity is in 2023 because we are in the middle of the year, and this cannot be released immediately, especially if we do not yet have budget. If it will be released, there should be a budgetary process, which Congress will have to approve),” Quijano said.
“Nakikita po natin na ang (we can see that the) time where it would be effective would be January of 2023. Hopefully, keeping our fingers crossed na ma-approve ng ating legislative mill iyong budget ng 2023 (that our legislative mill would approve the budget of 2023).”
Quijano expressed confidence that the new law would receive sufficient funding support.
Earlier, House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto pointed out that doubling the monthly pension would mean that the budgetary requirement would also double from PHP25 billion to PHP50 billion.
“I’m confident that from the assurances of the different government agencies, including the Department of Finance ay mapupondohan po ito (that this will receive funding). But it really will depend on our legislative mill,” Quijano said.
He said once Congress provides the budgetary requirement for the law, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) would adjust the amount of social pension.
“Na-approve na ito (This has already been approved) and it is Congress which will be able to give the necessary funding support. Of course, DBM will make the necessary adjustments, kasi napasa na po iyong National Expenditure Program at kailangang i-take into consideration after the National Expenditure Program itong bagong batas na naipasa (because the National Expenditure Program has been passed and this new law that has been passed must be taken into consideration after the National Expenditure Program),” he added.
Quijano said the NCSC is preparing to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of the law in consultation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), DBM, and other concerned government agencies and non-government organizations, as well as people’s organizations.
The NCSC will be in charge of the implementation, distribution and management of the monthly pension, instead of the DSWD.
“We are preparing and the readiness is also defined in terms of the transition. Ang trabaho ngayon ay nasa DSWD pa lang and our memorandum of agreement says that iyong readiness na iyan ay may timeline (The work right now is in the hands of the DSWD and our memorandum of agreement says that this readiness also has a timeline),” he said.
Republic Act 11916, which lapsed into law on July 30, is expected to benefit more than four million indigent senior citizens.
The new law also encourages the hiring of senior citizens through a tax incentive to employers. (PNA)