Davao City -At present, there are 20,561 beneficiaries of the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens in Region XI.

Undayong A. Tula, 80, of Marilog is one of the beneficiaries who was very delighted to receive the long overdue monthly pension which has accumulated to Php 4,500.00 [covering nine months] as the DSWD Regional social Pension Unit resumed its payout on October 13 here.

Uban’s family belongs to the Ata Manobo tribe living in the uplands of Marilog District. Her family depends mostly on the sales from farm produce, whose proceeds are divided among her children and their respective families.

Oftentimes, Tula is left with only a small amount of money, which according to her, is never adequate to buy her food and other primary needs.

Tula is conversant in Cebuano, which is quite unusual since most members of her tribe do not converse well in the dialect. She is also abreast with some of the latest news and technology and believes in modern medicine.

Like any other elderly, Tula has her animated moments. She enjoyably recalled memories of her childhood days, how early they arise each day to tend to their farm and how strict their parents were. She also shared stories of her teen days, how she and her husband met and how they ended up together.

Tula’s vibrant story telling was cut when she was handed her accumulated social pension of Php 4500.00. Her wrinkled eyes widened and moistened. Out of happiness and gratefulness, she proceeded to hug the DSWD staff so tightly.

She then started to share her plans on what she’ll buy out of the pension she just received. “Ako ni ipalit og tambal, bugas ug pagkaon para sa akong apo unya  (I will buy medicines, rice, and food for my grandchildren later).”

She repeatedly thanked DSWD for the social pension program as she considers it a really a big help to her and other indigent senior citizens, as augmentation funds for their medical and daily needs. “Kaya namo sagubangon ang kalisud tinabangan sa social pension (We can overcome hardship with the help of the social pension).”

Tula exemplifies the many senior citizens in the Philippines who have been struggling to make ends meet for their daily needs.

For needy senior citizens, a Php 500.00 monthly stipend can go a long way and will definitely help them finance not only their prime needs, but also their medicines and even for some small items they want.

Tula doesn’t desire luxurious life. What makes her happy are the simplest of things that a five-hundred peso bill can pay for.  DSWD