The national treasury’s dividend income from government-owned or-controlled corporations (GOCCs) can fund the P25 billion needed to double the pension of indigent senior citizens to P1,000 per month, as required by a new law, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said on Sunday.
“The country’s economic recovery is on track, so we are counting on GOCCs to generate higher profits and pay out more cash dividends. The money can be used to bankroll the pension increase,” Pimentel said.
“In 2021 alone, GOCCs remitted a combined P57.55 billion in cash dividends to state coffers,” he pointed out.
Pimentel was responding to reports that the Department of Budget and Management is still looking for money to finance the twofold increase in the monthly pension of impoverished seniors to P1,000 from P500.
The raise is mandated by a bill that lapsed into law on July 30.
“If the government does not provide money for the pension increase, the incidence of hunger could worsen among the elderly who do not have any means of financial support,” Pimentel warned.
“Their current P500 monthly subsidy has been reduced into a pittance by rampant inflation,” he said.
“Indigent seniors” refer to Filipinos 60 years old and above who do not receive any old-age pension from existing retirement benefit systems, who have no regular source of income, and who do not receive any aid from relatives.
Last week, Pimentel asked Malacañang to include in the proposed 2023 national budget the extra P25 billion needed for the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens.