In a remarkable achievement, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office Caraga (DSWD FO Caraga) has successfully concluded the payouts for its Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens (SocPen) program in 2023, surpassing its initial target. The program, aimed at providing crucial financial support to vulnerable seniors, disbursed PHP 1,099,440,500 to 188,010 beneficiaries across the region.

The number of beneficiaries per headcount and corresponding amounts of assistance per province tallied as follows: Agusan del Norte with 44,922 beneficiaries at Php262,247,500.00; Agusan del Sur – 48,297 (PHP283,467,000.00); Province of Dinagat Islands – 11,800 (PHP68,398,000.00); Surigao del Norte – 36, 774 (PHP215,962,000.00); and Surigao del Sur – 46,217 (PHP269,365,500.00).

During the Program Implementation Review (PIR) on November 22, 2023, Assistant Regional Director for Operations (ARDO) Jean-Paul S. Parajes expressed optimism about the program’s continuity into 2024, citing the ongoing transition to the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC).

Furthermore, Regional Social Pension Unit (RSPU) Focal Person Rachel B. Bade confirms a monthly stipend increase for seniors from Php500 to Php1,000. This positive development stems from RA 11916, also known as the Social Pension for Indigent Seniors Act, which officially became law on July 30, 2022. The Central Office’s memorandum on January 04, 2024, solidified the implementation of this much-needed adjustment.

Jessie Catherine B. Aranas, Chief of the Protective Services Division (PSD), thanked partners for their unwavering support. Emphasizing the pivotal role of these collaborators in the program’s success against national targets, Aranas expressed hopes for an even stronger partnership in 2024.

The SocPen program is aligned with the government’s commitment to social protection for the most vulnerable sector, supporting the full implementation of RA 9994, amended by RA 11916, the Social Pension for Indigent Seniors Act. It provides a monthly stipend of PHP1,000, aiming to enhance the daily subsistence and address the medical needs of indigent senior citizens.

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