MANILA, Philippines — Congress will find funding in the 2023 national budget for the pension increase for indigent seniors, Representative Rodolfo Ordanes of the Senior Citizens Party List said in a statement on Sunday.
“We just have to let the budget process take its course as it did in the House and is currently continuing in the Senate,” Ordanes said.
An increased pension of 1,000 pesos per month is imposed by Republic Act No. 11916which became law on July 30.
“Senators are well aware of RA 11916 and its urgency. The House leadership is also very aware of the new law for indigent elderly people,” Ordanes said.
Senior welfare advocates praised the law but worried that its implementation would not be feasible given tight budget allocations and the growing population of seniors.
According to a previous report, the number of seniors enrolled in the program has increased from around three million in 2021 to more than four million in 2022.
Along with the increases, lawmakers estimate an additional funding of 25 billion pesos would be needed.
But Ordones argued the law could definitely be implemented in 2023. He said the issue would be taken up at the bicameral conference after the Senate passes his version of the budget.
“There is no uncertainty about the occurrence of RA 11916 in 2023, as detailed behind-the-scenes work continues. The best time would be during the bicameral conference on the 2023 draft budget,” he said.
“There is no respite from our hard work in advocating for the welfare of the elderly, especially the indigent. We are relentless,” he added.
—WITH A REPORT BY JOSHUA GO (INTERN)
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