About 181,044 beneficiaries in Central Visayas, or 60.52% of the 299,737 target beneficiaries, have already received the increased social pension stipend for the first semester using the fund transfer payout scheme based on April 2024 data.

The photo shows LGU Tudela, Cebu holding the payout using the fund transfer on February 21, 2024.

The increased stipend of Php 1,000 released on a semestral basis prompted DSWD to fast-track distribution using either the direct payout facilitated by the agency or the transfer of funds to local government units.

During the consultation dialogue with all the 132 LGUs in the region earlier this year, the DSWD Field Office got a 97% commitment of support to adopt the fund transfer to have a fast and more efficient distribution of stipends.

Some 46 Bohol LGUs; 24 in Negros Oriental; and 5 in Siquijor; while an overwhelming 100% of the 53 LGUs in Cebu preferred the scheme. The remaining LGUs will use the direct payout, which DSWD 7 will facilitate.

Through fund transfer, senior citizens will benefit by having the stipend delivered directly to them using the logistics and personnel of their respective LGUs. Hence, it is more favorable to the beneficiary’s prevailing situation in the community.

Unlike the DSWD direct payout, the LGU stipend distribution will expedite through a simultaneous payout across the region, with funds directly downloaded to the LGUs. DSWD will provide technical assistance and resource augmentation when needed.

Fund transfer also gives the LGU more value for having direct access to the distribution, mobilizing their resources, and having to choose their payout schedules at their preferred venues.

Regional Director Shalaine Marie S. Lucero believes it is more efficient than direct payout because beneficiaries will enjoy their pension on time once the LGUs receive the downloaded funds. “For those beneficiaries who cannot claim their stipend during LGU-initiated payouts, they can claim it at the OSCA or LSWDO offices and need not wait for the next payout schedule,” she added.

While this gives a convenient approach to poor senior citizens, beneficiary representation will no longer be allowed. Authorization letters will not be recognized unless there are cases that may prohibit a senior citizen from claiming their pensions physically.

Best practices

One of the best practices of LGUs is the house-to-house delivery of stipends to beneficiaries in critical conditions like the bedridden, frail, or sickly.

This strategy employed can be more beneficial to senior citizens in difficult situations, so they can save the transportation cost to the venue and use it for their maintenance medicines or food subsistence instead.

Additionally, this can give the beneficiaries a sense of importance in the presence of their LGU personnel and allow them to express what other needs they have aside from the stipend.

Project Development Officer Majen G. Codera visits a bedridden beneficiary to hand in the stipend personally.

Tudela, one of the municipalities in the Camotes Island of Cebu, revealed that as early as February 29, 2024, they paid all the 1,502 beneficiaries, or 100%, including three (3) replacements or newly-added beneficiaries.

Tudela Mayor Greman B. Solante viewed fund transfers as necessary to deliver the stipend on time to their constituents. According to him, they adopted the mechanisms introduced by DSWD in terms of distribution, clustered simultaneous payouts, and door-to-door delivery.

He also added that the willingness to serve their constituents promptly includes making sure that all the offices concerned in the social pension program have a unified understanding of the LGU’s commitment in the signed MOA, which is to commence the payout within three (3) days after receiving the funds from DSWD.

Still on the waiting list

Social Pension currently has a record of 53,404 indigent senior citizens who have already been validated and qualified to be included in the program but are still on the waiting list due to the limited number of slots available. This number grew by 27.92% compared to the last report in January 2024. ###

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