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With Metro Manila to be placed on a “community quarantine,” Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate and Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares urged the government on Friday to grant the remaining P1,000 per month increase to all Social Security System pensioners.

They also urged the executive to raise the social pension of senior citizens from P500 to P1,000 monthly, “considering the impact of the Covid-19 to the elderly and the poor.”

“While we welcome that the measures have been approved in the committee level we urge the House leadership to further fast track them because time is of the essence,” Zarate said.

“Lives of seniors may be at stake here especially with the spread of Covid-19,” said the Davao-based solon.

“It would also be best if subsidies would be given to workers who have been hit by the Covid 19 or if their companies have closed because of the effects of the disease,” he said.

“What is needed now are medical and economic support for the people, not military and police actions,” said Zarate.

Colmenares said the problems with the current social pension include the inadequacy of the P500 monthly social pension and the disqualification of many poor and deserving senior citizens because of the unreasonable criteria set by the government such as only the sickly and frail could avail themselves of social pension.

“In my research of social pensions, I do not know of such a subjective criteria in other countries. The government must increase the social pension to at least P1,000 a month for all senior citizens without any unjust criteria,” he said.

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