If not for the social pension program, Federico Espinosa, 78, would not be able to set foot on Tacloban City for his entire life.
Espinosa, who is living in the remotest area of Padre Burgos town, Southern Leyte province, was accompanied by the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer (MSWDO) Asuncion Dizon to participate in a focused group discussion together with other beneficiaries from other Local Government Units (LGUs) serving as partner implementing partners.
The activity was facilitated by the Regional Social Pension Program (SocPen) Unit of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) regional office as a tool for evaluation on the impact of the program for senior citizens.
“We have to hike for about half an hour to visit the place of Mang Federico because there’s a lot of good and inspiring stories that you can see in their lives that despite of living in the remote and mountainous area, he still strive hard to make a living through planting and selling flowers,” Dizon narrated.
Every Saturday, Mang Federico would walk for about three kilometers to the town of Padre Burgos to deliver flowers to his “suki” or patrons.
“When I received the invitation of DSWD regional office for a meeting with other socpen beneficiaries, immediately it came to my mind that I will bring Mang Federico,” Dizon narrated. “Surprisingly, when we were travelling, he whispered to me that it’s his first time to set foot on the city,” she continued.
“Dako na ang amo kalipay nga nakadawat mi ug pension gikan DSWD kay nakatabang ni sa pagpalit ug tambal kay labi na nga bukid ang amo gipuy-an gisiguro namo nga nay andam. Naghinaut nalang ko nga mahimo magpadayon ang pension para sa amo nga mga mga kablas,” Mang Federico said.
“We are very happy that we are receiving pension from DSWD as this has helped us a lot especially in buying medicine because we are living in the mountain. We are hoping that the pension will continue for us who are impoverished.”
The farmer-beneficiary is one of the 87,000 senior citizens benefitting the Social Pension Program in Eastern Visayas region.
According to Ms. Asther Dadulla, Regional Social Pension Program Focal Person, her office is expecting to double the number of the beneficiaries come 2017 since it is already included in the Annual Appropriation of the national government to be implemented next year. (Rowel Montes)