Universal social pension: feasibility in the Philippines

Universal social pension: feasibility in the Philippines

Levels of poverty, vulnerability and inequality remain high in the Philippines despite positive economic growth in recent years. Social protection is a critical tool for ensuring that growth is in-clusive, yet existing policies in the Philippines remain too limited to have a major impact. The majority of Filipinos cannot currently expect to receive a pension in their old age. A little over a quarter of senior citizens or 29 per cent of their population receive pension based on their previous working history. In this context, most senior citizens have to look to their families for financial support in old age. The social pension for indigent senior citizens has gone some way to close this gap, but does not go far enough. A universal social pension would close the pension coverage gap and provide a strong foundation for the development of the pension system.

Policy recommendations:

  • as a priority, expand the existing social pension to cover all senior citizens without any other form of pension, regardless of indigency. This will ensure that all Filipinos can expect at least a minimum pension in old age
  • initiate a broader process to reform the pension system as a whole so that is performs the dual function of ensuring a mini-mum level of adequacy, while providing a channel for all work-ers (formal or informal) to save for their old age