The City Council is probing into complaints about the delay in the release of allowances to senior citizens of the city, including accusations that the supposed financial assistance program for the elderly is being used for partisan ends.
At Monday’s Question Hour of the City Council, a senior citizen lamented what she claimed was a “confusing and tedious process” of receiving the P1,500 allowance due to them, including the requirement that a beneficiary should be a registered voter of the city.
“Hindi naman ito sa amount kasi maliit lang naman. Kung hindi makuha ang pera, ibinabalik pa raw sa [City] Treasurer’s Office and istrikto ang auditor. Sana there will be another way na ma-release ‘yon. That is intended for us, not for savings, not for anything else,” Marcos said.
Some 22,100 elderly residents, with a total of P22 million cash allocation from the city government, are also asked to present their voter’s registration documents from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
Mercedes Avanceña, head of the Office of the Senior Citizens Association (OSCA), said that the voter’s registration is required to establish proof of city residency. She added that it is the task of their barangay coordinators to verify their list with the poll body.
“Voter’s registration serves as a proof that they are residents of the city, pero amg coordinators bawat barangay ang may listahan para hindi na sila pipila sa COMELEC,” Avanceña said saying that, “Alam mo naman ang seniors medyo mahina na ang pandinig kaya siguro hindi nagkakaintindihan.”
The release of allowances is being scheduled by the OSCA distribution coordinator, where seniors residing in far-flung barangays are given the priority.
Each elderly must appear before the coordinator, and in their absence, an authorization letter with valid excuse will be accepted on their behalf by their claimant.
Avanceña, on the other hand, reiterated that only “bed-ridden and sickly” senior citizens are allowed to miss their scheduled allowance release.
“The unclaimed allowance is still up for claim on the succeeding quarters, however, it will be forfeited after a year,” said city accountant Charlie Padul.
Councilor Peter Maristela, who requested the Council inquiry, nodded on the distribution system by OSCA but said that seniors must be guided accordingly so as to clarify the confusion resulting in the delay on their allowance.
Avanceña vowed to streamline the process that will “give life to the elderly” saying that, “We must find ways na maibigay ang allowance na hindi na sila naghihirap.”