(File photo)

MANILA – A lawmaker on Thursday urged President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to sign into law a measure doubling the monthly social pension of indigent senior citizens from PHP500 to PHP1,000 as a "parting gift" before he leaves office by end-June.

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, author of the bill, said this pro-elderly measure only needs Duterte’s approval as both the Senate and the House of Representatives last week approved a consolidated version for submission to Malacañang.

“Filipinos have an innate deep regard and respect for our elders. It is ingrained in our culture as well as reflected in our own Constitution where it is stated that it is familial duty to take care of our elderly,” Villafuerte said in a statement. “The State, in turn, provides for the protection and social services of such a vulnerable group as the elderly.”

He said with inflation and the "ever rising" living standards, it is getting difficult for the senior citizens to "live as comfortably as they can in their old age".

“Although the Filipino elderly are valued and respected for their wisdom and experiences, they still encounter challenges to their daily living because of their old age. Legislated measures have been provided by the State to provide for their safety and security, but, unfortunately, most of them face financial problems as they are unable to work for a living or have no monthly pension—or both," he said.

Considering that financial support from pensions such as the Social Security System (SSS) and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) have proven "not enough or insufficient", he said the PHP 1,000 increase in their monthly pension will somehow lighten the financial burden of the elderly.

The bill provides for other options for the pension other than a cash payout, the transaction fee of which will no longer be charged to the beneficiary-seniors.

It also transfers from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) the job of distributing the monthly pension to the beneficiary-senior citizens.

Senator Joel Villanueva said increasing the monthly social pension for senior citizens is timely amid the surge in commodity prices.

"There are seniors who can no longer work and who cannot be supported by their family, or else they have no family," Villanueva said. (PNA)