BUTUAN CITY- Standing firm on one of its core values that is ‘serbisyong walang puwang sa katiwalian’, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD-Caraga) would like to answer the issues which circulated in social media (Facebook) regarding the Social Pension 4th quarter payout on October 30, 2017 held at Brgy.Sacor catering program beneficiaries of the city.

Some concerned netizens posted at a forum in Facebook two allegations thrown at DSWD which are as follows:

(1)        only P3,000 instead of P6000 cash stipend  was received by the pensioners

(2)        beneficiaries were asked to sign a blank payroll

The Field Office would like to clarify that an amount of P3,000 each was given to the senior citizen beneficiaries who were included in the 28,446 additional slots of pensioners granted by the Central Office to the region for this year.

A memorandum dated May 17, 2017 downloaded by the Central Office through the Protective Services Bureau says that the said bureau has available funds for additional grants for 3rd and 4th quarter 2017, which can accommodate a number of waitlisted indigent senior citizens for Social Pension. Since the said quarters cover only the months of July to December and monthly stipend for pensioners is only P500 per month, thus the waitlisted beneficiaries which were included in the additional grants only received P3,000.

The additional grant downloaded by the Central Office amount to P85,398,000 region wide which is divided to the 28,466 waitlisted indigent senior citizens. In this amount, P10,413,000 is allotted for Butuan City catering 3,471 beneficiaries.

PSU IDD Chief Angelita Amista bared that in order to ensure transparency, this was clearly explained by the DSWD-Caraga staff before the beneficiaries during the orientation conducted prior the distribution of the cash stipend.

“We understand that our lolos and lolas who were included in the additional slots may have expected to receive P6,000 as those pensioners who were waitlisted in CY 2016 had last year since they were able to receive stipend from January to December. However, abiding with the recent memorandum (May 17,2017) from the Central Office, that is why only P3,000 was given to them,” said Amista.

“We have already anticipated these questions and confusions from our beneficiaries, that is the very reason why we ensured the orientation during the pay-out,” she added.

Furthermore, the regional management of the Field Office definitely denies the second allegation that the agency asked the pensioners to sign a blank payroll.

OIC Regional Director Mita Chuchi Gupana-Lim assured that the agency does not practice such as it ensures transparency in its dealings most especially that the agency is serving the most poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged sectors of the country.

“The payrolls that we prepared as evidence of disbursed funds are all printed. Specifically, the items Names, Address, Age, Gender, Health Condition, and amount to be received are all printed out. The blank spaces of the payroll are only those sections for the signature, ID presented, and remarks to be filled out during the payout once the pensioner will receive his/her stipend,” clarified Lim.

“This was also attested by the City Social Welfare and Development and Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs of Butuan who were also present to assist the agency during the payout,” she added.

Furthermore, the regional management of the Field Office definitely denies the second allegation that the agency asked the pensioners to sign a blank payroll.

OIC Regional Director Mita Chuchi Gupana-Lim assured that the agency does not practice such as it ensures transparency in its dealings most especially that the agency is serving the most poor, vulnerable, and disadvantaged sectors of the country.

“The payrolls that we prepared as evidence of disbursed funds are all printed. Specifically, the items Names, Address, Age, Gender, Health Condition, and amount to be received are all printed out. The blank spaces of the payroll are only those sections for the signature, ID presented, and remarks to be filled out during the payout once the pensioner will receive his/her stipend,” clarified Lim.

“This was also attested by the City Social Welfare and Development and Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs of Butuan who were also present to assist the agency during the payout,” she added.

“We encourage those who posted that a blank payroll was used during the payout to provide concrete evidence or perhaps substantiate their complaints so as not to mislead other netizens,” Lim stated.

“Our brand of service states, ‘DSWD May Malasakit’, and this is the kind of service that we live by. We firmly believe, that doing a dishonest act such as deceiving and taking advantage of our beloved lolos and lolas through blank payrolls would be inconsistent with the reputation that we have constantly upheld through the years of genuine public service with compassion,” she expressed.

The OIC regional director also opened that those who have issues or queries related to the implementation of Social Pension, the agency has systems in place to provide avenues for proper feedback mechanism.

“We appreciate that we have concerned citizens in our society who are one with us in ensuring that we deliver our programs and services with utmost honesty and integrity and that the Government funds are appropriately spent. Thus, with the allegations which were aired at social media from these concerned individuals, the agency is very much welcome to answer questions and give clarifications on this to them,” she added.

The Social Pension is a regular financial assistance program for the indigent elderly Filipinos. It provides a monthly stipend of Php500 to indigent senior citizens as mandated by Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010. This is given to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of senior citizens.###(Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga)