Barangay fund for elderly discussed

During the public consultation conducted by Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda on December 18, a number of senior citizens demanded for clarification on the utilization of the 1% of the barangay annual budget allocated for projects and programs related to senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Joining Councilor Tabanda in the discussion were Assistant City Social Welfare and Development Officer Editha Furigay and City Social Welfare and Development Officer IV Liza Bulayungan.

Some senior citizens complained that they were not able to execute their projects and programs for this year as the 1% fund was not released due to late filing of barangay annual budgets (BABs) to the City Council for approval.

Tabanda disclosed that some barangays submitted their BABs to the City Council as late as November. To address the problem, the lady councilor considered crafting a legislative measure that provides for the conversion of the unused 1% as a beginning balance to be added to the following year’s fund for the same purpose in the event of late filing of BABs.

On the other hand, the officers from the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) advised the senior citizens to not rely only on the 1% fund. They clarified that associations of senior citizens in every barangay may request financial assistance from concerned government offices or agencies for the implementation of their proposed projects and programs.

Another concern raised was the disproportionate distribution of the 1% fund. Some senior citizens expressed disappointment on the 50-50 distribution which for them is not equitable as the senior citizens’ population in the barangays is far higher than that of the PWDs’.

The City Social Welfare and Development officers explained that Section 29 of FY 2003 General Appropriations Act (GAA) does not stipulate an equal distribution for senior citizens and PWDs. According to them, the barangay officials must allocate the 1% fund depending on the needs and population of the two groups.

“There should be a separate fund for senior citizens and for PWDs to avoid problems,” a participant commented. Another participant suggested the integration of projects and programs for both senior citizens and PWDs to minimize problems arising from the split of the 1% fund.

Hearing the comments and recommendations of the participants, Tabanda emphasized the need for the creation of a comprehensive guideline on the utilization of the 1% fund intended for projects and programs for the senior citizens and the PWDs.

Jordan G. Habbiling/ABN

Amianan Balita Ngayon