Amid the enhanced community quarantine imposed in Luzon to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go appealed to concerned government agencies and local government units (LGUs)to implement the services to provide additional support for senior citizens.
Go cited government data indicating that majority of Covid-19 deaths are elderly because they are more prone to respiratory infections due to their weak and compromised immune systems.
“I’m ready to help. Whatever needs to be done or processes that need to be fast-track so that DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and other agencies can respond to the needs of the people, I will do it,” he said in Filipino.
Go, whose priorities include the welfare of one of the most vulnerable sectors, would like the DSWD to implement social welfare and social protection programs and services by prioritizing the provision of the Social Pension for indigent senior citizens.
He also wants the DSWD to provide assistance to individuals in crisis situations, distribution of food and non-food items, and sustainable livelihood programs to vulnerable sectors affected by the quarantine.
He said this is in on top of the provision of food assistance and non-food essentials to the most affected families and persons.
“We want all Filipinos affected by Covid-19 to be given necessary attention and support. Priority should be given to the senior citizens because we know that they are week and having difficulties to move around and find food,” Go said.
“Let’s admit that it’s difficult for them to get their resources especially now that quarantine is being implemented, they are not allowed to go out. And they can easily get this kind of disease,” he added.
Citing a government advisory, Go reiterated that those who are most vulnerable, those with pre-existing medical condition, like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, pulmonary disease, cancer; and others, as well as pregnant women should not go out of their homes.
An indigent senior citizen is entitled to PHP500 monthly pension. Considered as indigent senior citizens are those who are frail, sickly or with disability and without pension or permanent source of income of regular support from their relatives to meet their basic needs.
Go said those who should also be a priority are solo parents, indigent indigenous peoples, Transportation Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) and Transport Network Companies (TNC) drivers, and informal economy workers.
To ease the distribution of the relief goods due to the travel restrictions, Go is calling for door-to-door delivery of government aid, including the social pension for the indigent senior citizens.
He said DSWD should be assisted by LGUs since the latter have the necessary database.
“Let’s have compassion to our countrymen, particularly the poor. Anyway, it is the money of the Filipino. Let’s not make life difficult for them,” Go said.
Go urged the DSWD should find ways to immediately download the funds for social pension to the LGUs so that the senior citizens will be able to get their pensions.
“The barangay officials can assist the DSWD in the distribution of social pension,” Go said.