COTABATO CITY—The Ministry of Social Services and Development (MSSD) encourages all indigent senior citizens in the Bangsamoro region to apply for its Social Pension (SocPen) and centenarian programs.
Interested applicants may submit their documents to their Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) or at the MSSD regional office.
According to the MSSD’s accomplishment report for 2022, 155,940 or 91.07% of the 170,174 indigent senior citizens in BARMM have received their SocPen allowances.
MSSD Social Welfare Officer II for Older Persons and Persons with Disability Welfare Program, Jaymar Sali, clarified that the program is ideally semestral, but due to the downloading of funds, it has become a yearly one-time payout of Php6,000.00, or Php500.00 each month.
To qualify for SocPen, applicants must be 60 years old or above, vulnerable, persons with disabilities, have no permanent support from family or relatives, and do not receive any pension from the government.
Documentary requirements include a birth certificate/Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) ID, certificate of indigency, and a whole-body picture with a calendar of the current year and month.
Sali reiterated that the application for an ID and booklet is different from the application for Social Pension for indigent senior citizens. While OSCA ID and booklet are the rights of all senior citizens, SocPen has specific criteria for eligibility.
“Gusto din po natin linawin na ‘yung application for ID and booklet ay magkaiba doon sa application sa Social Pension for indigent senior citizen, dahil si OSCA ID at booklet ay karapatan po ng lahat ng senior citizens, while sa SocPen ay may criteria po para maka-avail neto,” Sali reiterated.
To avail of centenarian benefits, applicants must be Filipino, either residing in the Philippines or abroad, and must have reached the age of 100 years.
In 2022, 23 centenarians from BARMM, 8 from Lanao Sur A, one each from Lanao Sur B and Maguindanao, and 13 from Sulu, benefited from the program, receiving a total of P2.3 million.
MSSD has targeted 40 centenarians to receive one-time cash assistance this year.
To apply, primary documents such as birth certificates, a valid Philippine passport, OSCA ID, or any Philippine government IDs such as voters ID, SSS ID, GSIS ID, or PRC ID, and two secondary documents such as marriage contracts, birth certificates of children borne by/of centenarian, affidavits executed by at least two disinterested persons aged 80 years old and above, old school or employment records, or Baptismal certificates, are required.
The senior citizens’ office for Cotabato City is still in Region 12.
Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) 2020 Census of Population and Housing, the number of senior citizens aged 60 years and over in BARMM is 166,656, with 84,908 females and 81,748 males. These two programs are funded by the national government and implemented by the ministry. (Myrna Tepadan/BIO)