The Philippine social pension at four years: insights and recommendations

The Philippine social pension at four years: insights and recommendations

Despite relatively sustained economic growth in recent years, levels of poverty and inequality in the Philippines have remained stagnant. This brings into focus the role of the social protection system to provide stronger protection against the risks Filipinos face throughout their lives. As it stands, just one in three Filipinos can expect to receive any kind of pension when they get old, with the rest left to rely on their families and continuing to work, to the extent that they can. This situation is set to become more acute as the population ages.

One of the most notable initiatives to address this challenge has been the introduction of a social pension for indigent senior citizens - any citizen aged 60 and over who are frail, sickly or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs - under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010. The aim of the scheme is to support senior citizens in augmenting their daily subsistence and medical needs.

This study provides lessons in two areas key to assessing the progress of the Philippine social pension: (a) impact of the scheme, and (b) implementation. More specifically, the study seeks to explore the extent to which the PhP 500 benefit – recognized by many as particularly low – has an impact on recipients and their families in terms of implementation. The major focus is to evaluate the process of targeting and validation of indigent senior citizens.