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Rice, medicine, milk: Up in the bucket list of social pensioners

Happy and grateful social pensioners Teresita Cabo of Tarragona, Davao Oriental and Rosario Calibay of Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental.

What do most social pensioners buy from the Php 1500.00 social pension they get every quarter?

For 74-year old program recipient of Barangay Matina, Davao City, Restituta Eroy, milk, coffee, biscuits, bath soap and shampoo are the things that she enjoys out of her pension.

“This is my fifth time to receive and I am extremely happy for this assistance that helps me buy my medicine and milk,” Gregorio Hermitaňo Sr, 85, of Piapi, Davao City gratefully shared.

Fe R. Llanos, 77, from Bajada, Davao City said she uses her pension to purchase medicine and food.

“I spend my pension on rice, viand, biscuits and milk,” said Bienvinida D. Mira, 84, of Kinanga, Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental.

According to Surayda S. Bautista, 68, of Dalupan, Don Marcelino, rice, vitamins and milk are what she buys whenever she claims her pension. Bautista was escorted by her daughter at the recent payout in the municipal gym. “I will also pay my electric bill this morning. It’s only Php 56.00 and I will pay it from the pension I got today,” Bautista heartily announced as she showed her DASURECO billing statement.

“I always look forward to getting my pension,” said Rosario Calibay, 74, from Sitio Casa, Kinanga, Don Marcelino. “I usually buy rice, biscuits and viand when I receive my pension.” Calibay lives in a small comfortable house in a municipal relocation site.

Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO) of Tarragona, Davao Oriental Noraflor P. Lague said that social pensioners in the town are always eager to claim their pension and usually buy rice and medicine from what they get. “One good thing is that, because of the pension they receive, indigent older persons who frequent our office for assistance have stopped coming. This is a big support of DSWD. For those who are not ambulant anymore, we go to their home and deliver their pension.”

A program recipient since 2015, Teresita Cabo, 74, of Barangay Central, Tarragona said she buys medicine and rice. Cabo has eight children. She lives with her husband Ronaldo, 89. Still active, Cabo grows vegetables in her garden such as alugbati, kangkong and eggplant and sells these to employees at the municipal hall.

OSCA Head Anita D. Canciller, 69, and a retired public school teacher said Tarragona has 2277 members of the OSCA (Office of Senior Citizens’ Affairs). Of this figure, 1734 have qualified in the program.

Eligible to benefit from the social pension program are indigent Filipino senior citizens who are 65 years old and up.

Canciller said social pensioners in the town usually buy rice, milk and other basic stuffs.

For couple Cerelo, 92, and Victorina Pinaco, 80, of Dadong, Tarragona, rice, sugar and coffee are its priority.

Meanwhile, 101 year-old Raymunda B. Tagaunsod of Barangay Central, Tarragona, opts to get milk, viand and rice from her pension. Tagaunsod once was a vegetable grower. She could not read nor write but can count upto the thousands. At her advance age, her children boast that she has no maintenance medicine and they claim that three rites of Extreme Unction have already been performed on her.

Leading simple lives and being contented with simple needs, most social pensioners go for the basics. The pension may just be a meager amount yet it has absolutely lit up lives of over a million poor Filipino seniors. (DSWD)

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