The three DSWD Social Pensioners, growing old together in their humble home without appliances, do not remember their exact dates of birth. The eldest Lola Narcisa Agmata (left) only remembers her year of birth which is 1932.

The three senior citizen siblings with different disabilities are regular Social Pensioners of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1 (DSWD FO 1) Social Pension Program who each receives a PhP500.00 monthly pension or a PhP1,500.00 quarterly pension.

Lola Narcisa Agmata (eldest) with physical disability, Lolo Alfredo Cabinian with speech and hearing impairment, and Lola Saturnina Cabinian with speech and vision impairment live at Barangay Upon, Pinili, Ilocos Norte beside the house of their nephew and his wife who regularly and patiently assist them in their everyday needs.   

According to their niece-in-law Merlinda De Guzman, she usually helps the three elders when taking their bath, particularly Lola Narcisa since she can longer move the lower part of her body and her left arm due to stroke.

Noong una ay nahirapan talaga ako sa pag-aalaga sa kanila kasi nakaka-stress kapag nag-aaway sila pero ngayon ay nasanay na ako. Kailangan lang ng matinding pang-unawa at pag-aalaga (At first I had a hard time taking care of them especially when they fight, but afterwards I’m already used to their behavior. It just takes a lot of understanding and genuine care),” said De Guzman.

De Guzman is thankful that DSWD is giving financial assistance to her husband’s relatives since they can no longer work due to old age and incapacities. “Iyong pension na nakukuha nila sa DSWD ay binabudget nila para sa pagkain nila. Binibigyan nila ako ng pera para ako ang mamalengke at magluto para sa kanila (The pension that they are receiving from DSWD is budgeted for their food. They give me money so that I can buy and cook meals for them),” said De Guzman.

The DSWD Social Pension Program is an additional government assistance to augment the daily subsistence and other medical needs of indigent senior citizens particularly those who are frail, sickly or with disability, with no regular income or support from family and relatives, and without pension from private or government institutions.

In Region 1, the Social Pension Program Management Office of DSWD FO 1 provides pension to 127,195 regular Social Pensioners in accordance with Republic Act No. 9994 or the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.” Out of these, 13,895 Social Pensioners who receive quarterly pension amounting to PhP1,500.00 reside in Ilocos Norte, 28,087 in Ilocos Sur, 18,492 in La Union, and 66,721 in Pangasinan. (by: Jaymante Pearl B. Apilado, Administrative Assistant III, NHTS-PR/Listahanan)