December 4, 2022

The Department of Social Welfare and Development-Cordillera warned the public against scams through text messages claiming senior citizens are purportedly entitled to a financial assistance.

DSWD Regional Director Arnel B. Garcia reiterated the text messages did not come from the agency.

The DSWD has been receiving reports from various individuals and local government officials who have received text messages claiming they are entitled to a financial assistance intended for senior citizens and they have to email a certain email address to know more about the details on how to claim it.

Garcia added the danger of sending a message to the email address stated in the text message is that the scammers may use the personal information of the sender in their illegal activities.

Financial assistance is provided by the agency through the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations under the DSWD’s Crisis Intervention Unit.

Clients seeking for financial assistance have to undergo assessment to avail of the services. Assessments are done by authorized social workers and will never ask for any personal information through an unverified email address.

The agency also offers a special program for senior citizens, the Social Pension Program for Indigent Senior Citizens, where eligible individuals receive a P500 monthly stipend.

The government has set conditions for a senior citizen to become eligible in this program. Therefore, not all senior citizens receive the social pension stipend.

Among the conditions provided in DSWD Memorandum Circular 4, s. 2019 are: the senior citizen must be frail and sickly; they are not receiving any pension from SSS, GSIS, and other insurance companies; they are not receiving regular financial support from relatives; and that they do not have a permanent source of income. 

Distribution or payout schedules are coordinated by the senior citizen focal person from the local social welfare and development office or representatives from the Office of Senior Citizens Association in their respective areas.

New beneficiaries will be notified by an authorized representative as well.

The agency also received reports that a certain group claiming to be affiliated with DSWD is distributing membership forms, collecting membership fees of different amounts, and giving false promises to senior citizens that their membership will guarantee them to be prioritized when there is a financial assistance to be distributed to them.

The DSWD reiterated it is not collecting any amount from clients in exchange for being included in the programs and services offered by the agency.

The public are advised to be extra vigilant. People who received similar text messages and have encountered a suspicious group collecting membership fees are advised to report to the nearest DSWD office or they can also verify the legitimacy of certain groups from local government units.

They may also report and verify through a phone call to the DSWD hotlines: 661-0430, 0917-871-9893, 0917-872-0256, and 0919-065-5365 to 68.  – Jezebel L. Gumatay