Hazel Ayne Garcia 0

Pass the Universal Social Pension bill in the Philippines

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Aksyon sa Pensyon (AkaP) Coalition is formed to push for the passage of the Universal Social Pension bill that will benefit more older persons in the Philippines.

Here is a background about the Universal Social Pension:

During the 17th Congress, five bills were filed to amend the current provision of social pension for indigent senior citizens[1] in the Republic Act 9994 or Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, namely House bill nos. 2157, 2653, 2775, 3934, and 5038. These bills were consolidated by a technical working group of House Committee on Populations and Family Relations in August 9, 2017. A substitute bill now is drafted aiming to expand the social pension to ALL senior citizens and increase the benefit amount from P500 to P1000.

What is Universal social pension?

The Universal Social Pension is a regular tax-financed scheme that guarantees a minimum pension to all senior citizens.

Who will benefit from Universal Social Pension?

Unlike with the current social pension program under RA 9994, this measure will not only benefit the “indigent” senior citizens but also all senior citizens today and the future. If implemented by 2019, there are about 9.1 million[2] senior citizens who will benefit from this.

Eligibility to Universal Social Pension is not dependent on past contributions or earnings.

Why move to universal than the current means-targeted social pension?

Universal pensions have several advantages compared to the means-tested approach currently used for the social pension for indigent senior citizens.

  • All poor senior citizens will be reached: well established universal pensions have virtually no exclusion errors.
  • It will provide security for low-income informal sector workers: this can be complemented by contributory savings.
  • Eligibility criteria are transparent and easy to understand: this creates less space for corruption and clientelism.
  • A right; not a gift: rather than feeling a sense of shame at being poor, recipients receive their pension with dignity.
  • Strong political support: as an entitlement for all Filipinos universal pensions can gain broad-based political support.
  • Cheaper to implement: the simple and transparent eligibility criteria for universal pensions results in lower administration costs.

[1] An indigent senior citizen is any citizen aged 60 and over who is “frail, sickly or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs”.

[2] Philippine Statistics Authority, 2010 Census-based Population Projections in collaboration with the Inter-Agency Working Group on Population Projections

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