City Council probes delisting of senior citizens

Posted on November 22, 2012

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CEBU City Councilor Rodrigo Abellanosa yesterday asked the City Council to summon certain city officials to explain the delisting of over a thousand elderly residents from the list of beneficiaries of the city government’s cash assistance program for senior citizens.

In his privilege speech at yesterday’s City Council session, Abellanosa said about 1,300 senior citizens from barangay Guadalupe and another 600 from barangay Labangon have been delisted by Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA).

The councilor, who used to head the OSCA, wanted the issue resolved before the next distribution of cash assistance to beneficiaries on December 8 “to avoid further injury.”

“This reported rampant and massive delisting and dropping of hundreds of qualified senior citizens including the most recent beneficiaries is highly suspicious, irregular, immoral, demoralizing and an utter disrespect to our elderly in the city of Cebu.

“This must be immediately investigated for possible culpable violations of provisions of RA 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and RA 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees,” he said.

Among the officials the councilor wanted to appear in the next session of the City Council on Nov. 28 were City Administrator Jose Marie Poblete and the heads of the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS), Management Information and Computer Services (MICS) and OSCA.

Commenting on the councilor’s speech, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said the delisting of some senior citizens was not intentional.

“I don’t think it was malicious. Even the computer is not perfect all the time because it is also manned by humans,” he said.

The mayor said he already called for a meeting between officials of the MICS and the OSCA for them to thresh out issues in the fine tuning of the senior citizens’ master list. He said the move was meant to correct double entries and purge the list of beneficiaries who are already dead .

Cebu City now has about 50,000 registered senior citizens who have been qualified to receive P7,000 from the city this year. They already received a P3,000 in July and are scheduled to receive the balance of P4, 000 on December 8.

But several senior citizens have raised a howl against their removal from the beneficiaries’ list. /Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac

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