Seniors in Malabon have bewailed the apparent politicizing of their benefits, which included cash grants and social pension.
They complained that the distribution of their benefits have been disorganized after its implementation was transferred to the Office of Vice Mayor Jeannie Sandoval.
“We seniors are really pitiful,” lamented Corazon Viardo, as she recalled how her fellow senior citizens suffered long hours of waiting in a congested covered court just to get the assistance that is due them.
At least 10 seniors were reportedly taken to hospitals after they passed out while waiting in line for their Unconditional Cash Transfer payout in September.
Many other elders experienced hunger, heat and exhaustion, Viardo noted.
The Standard could not reach Sandoval or the city government for comment at press time.
Senior citizen benefits, including social pension, were usually distributed in the open amphitheater near the city hall, she said.
It was moved last year to the Barangay Tinajeros covered court upon the request of Vice Mayor Sandoval through then-Department of Social Welfare and Development-NCR Director Andrew Leyson.
The Tinajeros covered court, which could only accommodate 500 persons at a time, is incapable of accommodating the 3,000 senior citizen participants for UCT and the social pension payout, Viardo said.
“They have no concern for our condition. When they transferred the venue for the distribution was moved to Tinajeros, they never thought that many of the seniors are wheelchair-bound and sick. They have been lining up in the congested place for hours. It is also hot,” she stressed.
Upon the request of Sandoval thru DSWD’s Leyson, the distribution of the senior citizen social pension was also transferred to Robinsons Townmall from the amphitheater.
Senior citizens present at the event complained of long lines and exhaustion, as the small venue was quickly packed by fragile senior citizens who were exposed to the heat and chaos brought by overcrowding.
Both incidents prompted various senior citizen groups in Malabon to complain through letters questioning the sudden transfer of their social pension payout venue.
“We appeal that the payout be held back here at the amphitheater. Some of us who are on wheelchairs and have difficulty walking cannot travel far to get money for our medicines and food. The amphitheater is near the city call and photocopy machines if we need them,” one of the letters said.
According to Administrative Order No. 15, the implementation of the social payout should be under the jurisdiction of the local chief executive through the direction of the local DSWD.
An indigent senior citizen receives a P500 monthly pension, in accordance to the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 or Republic Act 9994.
Meanwhile, the UCT amounting to P2,400 for 2018 was distributed to poor senior citizens affected by the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.