Tacloban, Eastern Visayas — The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has allocated PHP1.33 billion as a social pension for indigent senior citizens across Eastern Visayas in the first half of 2024, benefiting 223,187 elderly individuals across six provinces.

According to Philippines News Agency, the DSWD-Eastern Visayas regional information officer, in an interview on Tuesday, the disbursement covers seniors from Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar. The largest number of recipients is in Leyte with 101,203 beneficiaries. Chua noted, "We expect the number of beneficiaries to increase with the submission of final data from 17 towns. There are still five towns in Samar and Northern Samar provinces with ongoing payouts."

The PHP1.33 billion disbursed so far represents 76.56 percent of the total PHP1.77 billion allocated for the region's social pension in the first six months of 2024. Chua highlighted the efficient delivery scheme involved, "Under the transfer of fund modality, the total allocated fund for the beneficiaries is transferred and disbursed by the local government units on a semestral basis, allowing a streamlined and cost-effective implementation of the program."

The social pension program is part of a broader effort outlined by Republic Act 11916, enacted in July 2022, which doubled the monthly pension for senior citizens from PHP500 to PHP1,000. Eligible recipients are those who are 60 years or older, frail and sickly, and without pensions from other government sources like the Government Service Insurance System, Philippine Veterans Affairs Office, Social Security System, or private insurance companies. They also must not have a regular source of income or support from family or relatives.

The DSWD regional office, along with local government units, is gearing up for the continued implementation of the social pension program in the second half of 2024.

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