Social Pension beneficiaries in Barangay Crossing, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte, participate in the focus group discussion conducted by ICI-Asia, a firm commissioned by the World Bank to conduct study on DSWD’s Social Pension Program, last June 25, 2019.

Cited as one of the best field offices in the country when it comes to management of social pension, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Caraga was selected by the World Bank as one of its subjects of study on the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens Program (SocPen) implementation.

The World Bank commissioned research agency Integrative Competitive Intelligence (ICI) Asia Inc. to do the data gathering on how the SocPen is being implemented in Caraga region, as well as in the regions of Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas and National Capital Region.

In each region, ICI Asia selected four local government units (LGU) for the study. In Caraga region, the surveys were conducted in Butuan City and Kitcharao town in Agusan del Norte province and in Surigao City and Tagana-an town in Surigao del Norte province.

ICI-Asia project manager Maritona Labajo (right) pay a courtesy call to DSWD-Caraga assistant regional director for operations Nerissa Murih (center), together with regional Social Pension focal person Juvy Echavaria (left) and Protective Services Division chief Jessie Catherine Aranas (2nd from left).

Maritona Labajo, ICI Asia project manager, said that they selected the five regions where the SocPen was best and badly managed.

Labajo said Caraga is one of the regions where the social pension is best implemented, adding that DSWD-Caraga was the first regional office in the country that conducted payouts for 2019.

As of June 30, DSWD-Caraga has already conducted payouts in 23 areas (cities and municipalities) in the region.

Ang isa sa gusto pang makita ng World Bank, paano yong institutional arrangement kasi multi-stakeholder groups ito eh. Meron kang Central office ng DSWD, regional office, LGU, OSCA (Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs), at SWDO (Social Welfare and Development Office), (What the World Bank would also like to find out is the institutional arrangement, since Social Pension program consists of multi-stakeholders such as the DSWD, regional office, LGU, OSCA, and SWDO)” she said.

During the four-day data gathering from June 24 to 27, ICI Asia conducted interviews and focus group discussions with the SocPen beneficiaries and DSWD, SWDO, and OSCA personnel.

May uniform prescribed process (ang social pension sa buong bansa). ‘Yon yung papel ng mga (implementing) guidelines na binaba simula noong 2011. Dahil sa maraming nakikitang problema, may level din kung ano yong dineskarte nang regional office ng DSWD at saka yong mga LGUs… Kung anong papel ginagawa ng stakeholders para mapaabot ang social pension sa mga beneficiaries, [There’s a uniform prescribed process and implementing guidelines for Social Pension since 2011. (We want to know) role of stakeholders on how they find a way in delivering social pension to the beneficiaries],” Labajo said.

“Ang vision ni Presidente (Rodrigo Duterte) po, gawin siyang Universal Social Pension. Ang gusto niya talaga, eventually, before matapos term niya, gawing universal. At ang World Bank naman, interesado siyang tulongan. (The vision of the President is to make Social Pension universal. Eventually, what he want is a Universal Social Pension before his term ends. And the World Bank is keen in helping him achieve that vision),” Labajo added.

ICI Asia researchers conduct focus group discussion with senior citizens in Barangay Obrero, Butuan City on June 24, 2019.

SocPen was established in 2010 by virtue of DSWD Administrative Order 15 (AO-15) series of 2010 with an overarching goal of fulfilling the provisions of Republic Act No. 9994, also known as the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.”

Qualified beneficiaries are those who are 60 years old and above; frail, sickly, or with disability; without pension from government and private agencies; and without regular income, compensation or financial assistance from their relatives. ICI Asia presented the outcome of their survey to the World Bank and DSWD-Central Office on Wednesday, July 3. ###(DARYL D. ANUNCIADO/Social Marketing Unit/DSWD Field Office Caraga)

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