Statement of the Commission on Human Rights welcoming the proposed universal social pension for all Filipino senior citizens

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights welcoming the proposed universal social pension for all Filipino senior citizens

The Commission on Human Rights acknowledges the approval of House Bill 10423 by the House of Representatives in its third and final reading. This bill, also referred to as the “Act to Maximize the Contribution of Senior Citizens to Nation Building, Grant Benefits and Special Privileges, and for Other Purposes,” was authored by United Senior Citizens Partylist Representative Milagros Aquino-Magsaysay and has received 232 affirmative votes.

“We applaud the bill’s intention to ensure that no Filipino senior citizen will be left behind in terms of financial support. This bill is a step towards enhancing their quality of life and a reflection of the nation’s responsibility to protect the welfare of all our senior citizens,” Commissioner Beda Angeles Epres, CHR Focal Commissioner for Older Persons, said.

This bill amends Republic Act No. 7432, aiming to provide a universal social pension to all senior citizens, not just the indigent. At present, only indigent senior citizens are entitled to a P500 monthly pension. If enacted, the bill will require that all senior citizens, regardless of their income status, be granted a monthly social pension. It also proposes that indigent seniors receive P1000, while non-indigents receive P500 each month.

The bill will also task the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in collaboration with the Department of Budget and Management and other stakeholders, to review the adjustment of the social pension every two years to keep up with economic changes.

It also proposes the option for seniors to waive benefits or opt out of the universal social pension program, thus acknowledging the diverse circumstances and varying needs of senior citizens and respecting their autonomy in financial decision-making.

“We recognize the efforts of our legislators to ensure the progress of this bill in the lower house. We support their initiatives to prioritize the well-being of our elderly. This affirms the State’s commitment to contribute to the dignity and independence of our seniors,” Commissioner Epres expressed.

The CHR welcomes HB 10423 as it will contribute to the efforts of the State to elevate the status of the elderly population as well as promote financial security for them. This is a positive addition to the Philippine Plan of Action for Senior Citizens 2023-2028 (PPASC 2023-2028), a comprehensive program launched by the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) that fosters an inclusive and age-friendly society. The Commission continues to aim for proactive measures that will address the unique needs and challenges of senior citizens.###