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Digital Boost for Senior Citizens in the Philippines

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The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is set to revolutionise the disbursement of pensions for senior citizens by transitioning to a digital system utilising cash cards. This initiative aims to streamline the current manual process and provide more timely and convenient access to funds for beneficiaries.

During the Kapihan sa Bagong Pilipinas event on June 11, DSWD Mimaropa Regional Director Leonardo Reynoso announced that the department is collaborating with a bank in the Philippines to facilitate this transition. The shift to cash cards is expected to enhance the efficiency of pension disbursements, which currently amount to PHP 1,000 per beneficiary each semester. Starting in July, pensions will be distributed quarterly, with a goal to eventually move to monthly disbursements once the cash card system is fully implemented.

“The government’s aim is to move away from manual distribution and adopt digital payments. We are working closely [with the bank] to ensure that our senior citizens receive their pensions through cash cards,” Reynoso stated.

While the department is keen on monthly releases, Reynoso acknowledged the logistical challenges of visiting all municipalities in the region. Currently, DSWD transfers funds to local government units (LGUs), which then handle the pension distribution. In cases where LGUs have unliquidated transactions with DSWD and are ineligible to receive funds, DSWD personnel are deployed to conduct payouts directly.

Beyond pensions, DSWD also provides centenarian cash gifts to Filipinos who reach 100 years of age. In the Mimaropa region alone, 28 centenarians have been identified in collaboration with LGUs. The department is also proactively identifying potential centenarians for 2025 and 2026 to ensure they meet the requirements to receive a PHP 100,000 cash gift.

“DSWD is tracking these individuals to inform their families of the necessary requirements to receive the PHP 100,000 gift,” Reynoso explained.

Additionally, senior citizens aged 80 to 95 are now eligible for a PHP 10,000 cash incentive following the amendment of Republic Act 10868, or the Centenarian Act of 2016, in February 2023.

The move to digitise pension disbursements is part of a broader effort by DSWD to enhance the efficiency and accessibility of its social welfare programs. By adopting modern financial technologies, the department aims to provide better service to its beneficiaries and ensure that funds reach those in need more quickly and securely.

This initiative underscores DSWD’s commitment to improving the welfare of senior citizens, recognising their contributions to society, and ensuring they receive their due benefits with dignity and ease. As the department continues to roll out these digital solutions, it sets a precedent for other social welfare programs and government services, paving the way for a more efficient and inclusive system.

The Philippines is harnessing modern and digital technologies across various sectors as part of its digital transformation journey. The Department of Agriculture (DA) in the Mimaropa region is a key player in this initiative, advocating the use of advanced technologies to boost production among farmers and fishermen.

These advanced technologies aim to boost productivity and various initiatives are underway to enhance infrastructure and community support across different regions. Through these efforts, rice and corn yields have significantly increased, and high-value crops like onions have seen substantial production gains.

The region’s mechanisation level has improved, with extensive distribution of agricultural machinery and the establishment of farm-production facilities and farm-to-market roads. This initiative underscores the country’s commitment to leveraging technology for enhanced productivity and food security, while also ensuring sustainable incomes for agricultural workers.

 

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