Following the conclusion of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE), a senior lawmaker urged the newly elected officials to actively contribute to completing the national database of elderly Filipinos and solo parents.
Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte emphasized the importance of assisting the National Commission on Senior Citizens (NCSC) as well as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in identifying and supporting senior citizens and solo parents in their respective communities.
Villafuerte made a statement as he commended the winners for their success and called on them to fulfill their electoral mandate by prioritizing the needs of vulnerable sectors.
Villafuerte said local officials need to assist in completing the database because the NCSC has reported only 3,381,049 elderly registered as of November 12, 2023, or just about a fourth of all senior citizens in the country.
The NCSC earlier called on senior citizens to sign up on its website to create a database that will be used for pro-elderly programs, including the grant of the monthly pension, which will be doubled from the current P500 to P1,000.
According to Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data, there were some 12.3 million Filipinos 60 years of age and older as of May 2020, or roughly 11 percent of the country’s estimated population of over 109 million.
Villafuerte also highlighted the need for collaboration to achieve a 100 percent increase in the monthly allowance for indigent senior citizens.
He appealed to the Senate to approve the proposed budget for the pension fund, emphasizing the responsibility of local officials to protect vulnerable sectors, as mandated by the Local Government Code.
The legislator also stressed the urgency for local officials to facilitate the registration of elderly and single parents, stressing its role in preventing poverty in these demographics.
With a transition period granted to the winners, Villafuerte encouraged them to swiftly engage in their responsibilities and contribute to the government’s social safety net system.
Approximately 1.4 million candidates participated in the BSKE, filling over 670,000 electoral seats across 42,001 barangays nationwide.
Moreover, Villafuerte also highlighted the significance of tracking solo parents to ensure they receive the financial assistance and benefits designated for them under national social protection programs.
He explained that solo parents earning P250,000 or below per year are entitled to a 10 percent discount and VAT exemption on essential purchases for their children.
The legislator emphasized the importance of sustained financial support for solo parents and urged local government executives to submit lists of beneficiaries under the new law.
In a 2017 study, the Department of Health (DOH) and the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) estimated that there are about 14 million to 15 million solo parents in the country.
Under RA 11861, solo parents who earn minimum wages or below will also get a higher monthly cash aid of P1,000 each from their respective local government units (LGUs).
Villafuerte likewise appealed to LGU executives to submit to the DSWD, on a quarterly basis, their respective lists of solo parents availing themselves of the benefits under the new law.