Pensions for the poorest: Actions speak louder than words
Older people in the Philippines are now pushing to shape the country’s welfare programme for the poorest older people.
We have spent so much time, including being interviewed on prime time TV, getting a bill passed to provide a social pension for the “poorest of the poor” senior citizens. Now, unexpectedly, the Confederation of Older Persons' Associations of the Philippines (COPAP), are also calling for the government to implement the social pension programme.
Pension needs to go to right people
Amidst reports of irregularities, COPAP and its partner organisation, the Coalition of the Services of the Elderly (COSE), is trying to work with the government agencies who distribute pensions to come up with a correct list of beneficiaries who truly qualify for the scheme.
Sitting in the meeting of the Regional Coordinating and Monitoring Board this September, representatives of COPAP relayed the complaints received from various member organisations about the delivery of pensions.
As a result, the representative from the Department of Interior and Local Government pledged to get local government to make a list of all senior citizens in their barangays (villages).
With a correct list of all older people, the local older people's associations can also help to see who is eligible.
Stopping the waste of precious resources
At the Age Demands Action press conference held on 1 October, the call was made to temporarily stop the programme. Unless a more credible list of beneficiaries is prepared based on an actual survey, continuing the release of benefits will be a waste of precious resources.
On Thursday 6 October, I travelled to the UN in New York on the invitation of the NGO Committee on Ageing. At the Salvation Army Auditorium in Manhattan, I spoke about the campaign in the Philippines to an audience of policy makers and older New Yorkers.