BUTUAN CITY- A total of 93,448 indigent senior citizens benefitted the Social Pension program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Caraga in its 2016 implementation covering the 73 Local Government Units (LGUs) in the region. This number includes replacement beneficiaries from 1st to 4th quarter.

With this, the Department disbursed a total amount of Php496,590,000 for the said program.

Sarah Rose Salingay, focal person of Social Pension, said that DSWD exceeded its target of 82,765 beneficiaries to be served at the end of the year. “This proves that the department is effectively and efficiently implementing the program that aims to help the poor senior citizens through cash assistance every quarter,” said Salingay.

“However, it’s still our challenge this year for the remaining Local Government Units (LGUs) to adopt the Transfer of Funds. That’s why, we will continue lobbying to the LGUs and conduct orientation about the advantage of the said scheme,” she added.

The transfer of funds scheme strategize that the Department downloads the money directly to the LGUs account to fast track the disbursement of money during the schedule payout. The disbursement process will be the responsibility of the respective LGUs, but the payroll preparation will be done in the region to ensure no alterations of the list and the eligible beneficiaries will receive the pension.

As of this time, there are 60 LGUs out of 73 had engaged to Transfer of Funds scheme, thus only 13 LGUs are implementing the direct payment/cash advance mode of payment.

This year, the department targets a total of 100,000 beneficiaries in the region. It means that more indigent senior citizens aged 60 years old and above will benefit the said program as on the commitment of the new administration.

OIC-Regional Director Mita Chuchi Gupana-Lim said that the DSWD will coordinate with LGUs to submit their waitlist and delist report duly signed by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development, Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs, and Local Chief Executive.

Another accomplishment last year is the development of the Social Pension Information System (SPInS) by the RSPU. This system was created to establish a database of the program where information are stored and readily available to the stakeholders.

Social Pension is a program of DSWD intended for the indigent senior citizens aged from 60 and above who are frail/sickly and with no pension either from SSS, GSIS, PVAO and other insurance companies. The beneficiaries receive Php500 every month which are distributed every quarter.###(ABEGAIL R. ALVAREZ/Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga)