“We are doing our best to make it better.”
Amid the difficulties, the Office for the Senior Citizens Affairs (Osca) is facing, Jeffrey Ocampo, head of Osca is proposing an “improvised identification (I.D.) system” for senior citizens to ensure fast and efficient processing of their cash incentive from the City Hall.
Ocampo said the transaction would be similar to an Automatic Machine (ATM). It would fast track the existing names and re-validate in a systematic way the new list of beneficiaries especially for those who just turned 60 years old.
This, after Ocampo admitted that they have their lapses in organizing and updating the list of senior citizens registered in the city every year, making some of these beneficiaries unable to claim their P3,000 cash assistance.
“We just handled this kind of transaction this year.In previous years, it was DSWS (Department of Social Welfare Services) that handled the distribution of assistance to the senior citizens,” said Ocampo in Cebuano.
Last week, many senior citizens complained about the lack of coordination between Osca and DSWS.
Assistant treasurer Emma Villarete earlier admitted that because of the influx of registrants, Osca could not clean up the old lists and update it for the new registrants every year.
Some of the qualified senior citizens who experienced difficulties in claiming the P3,000 cash assistance will be given a special payroll.
Osca announced it can be claimed by the end of the month, until July 3.
While the distribution began last June 11, Ocampo said that Osca and City Treasurers Office are given a 15-day working period to continue the distribution, which will end by July 3.
Ester Concha, head of DSWS, said the master list was already with Osca in the last quarter of 2011.
“As soon as the list is reconciled, that's the time they can release the funds,” she said.
Another reason for the failure to claim financial assistance are changes in guidelines.
Ocampo said the letter of authorization with Special Power of Attorney is “no longer honored” in claiming the assistance.
“Some are still bringing the letter of authorization to claim the cash assistance, but we will no longer allow that,” he added.
About 70-80 percent of at least 50,000 senior citizens have already received the P3,000 assistancesaid Ocampo.
Under R.A. 9257 of the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003", senior citizens are issued identification cards which they use to avail services and privileges like discounts in medicines and transportation fares. /Tweeny M. Malinao, Correspondent