Mario Jumawid, 83, who hails from Barangay Cambailan, Catigbi-an, Bohol met his tragic end while awaiting his P3,000 Social Pension stipend for Indigent Senior Citizens (SPISC) at the Catigbi-an Cultural and Sports Center on Thursday morning.
Jumawid, was among the more than 2,000 senior citizens from the 22 barangays of Catigbi-an entitled to a monthly stipend of P1,000.00 reportedly fainted and was rushed to the nearby Catigbi-an District Hospital but was declared dead on arrival (DOA) at the Catigbi-an District Hospital.
According to Erlinda Quilicot, DSWD Municipal Social Welfare Officer, the senior citizens were at the cultural center as early as 8 AM eagerly anticipating the arrival of the team from the DSWD Regional Office who came in at 10 AM, a few minutes after Jumawid was rushed to the hospital.
However, a saddened Mayor Elizabeth Mandin Pace bewailed the manner the team of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) conducted the distribution of the stipend without regard to the well-being of the senior citizens.
Pace who just arrived from Manila immediately went to the Catigbi-an Cultural and Sports Center to personally assess the conditions prevailing during the stipend distribution.
The sight of hundreds of senior citizens lining up before four DSWD tellers dismayed Pace prompting her to announce in public that to lessen the miserable conditions of the senior citizens a maximum of five beneficiaries shall be accommodated considering the lack of personnel distributing the stipends.
“This sad incident could have been prevented if the DSWD coordinated with the Local Government Unit (LGU) before the distribution of the stipends. We could have provided additional personnel to assist the four undermanned DSWD employees to ensure the efficient distribution of the stipends,” said Pace in an interview with the Chronicle.
LGU officials recalled that previously, the SPISC was implemented through fund transfer to the municipalities which Pace strongly endorsed to the DSWD to avoid a repetition of any untoward incident similar to the fate of Jumawid.
Governor Art Yap upon learning of the fatal incident from Pace immediately got in touch with top DSWD officials to use the most cost-effective and efficient mode of payment in partnership with the LGU’s to ensure that the stipend reaches the beneficiaries for their social protection and support.
Republic Act no. 9994 or the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010” provides additional government assistance through the SPISC a monthly stipend to augment their daily subsistence and medical needs.
Eligible for the stipend is the senior citizen who is frail, sickly and disabled, no pension from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), Armed Forces and Police Mutual Benefit Association (AFPMBAI) or any other insurance company.
Senior citizens with no permanent source of income and no regular support from family or relatives for his/her needs are also eligible to avail of the stipend. (Chito M. Visarra)