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FACT CHECK: Bill granting cash gifts to seniors aged 80, 90 not yet law

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FACT CHECK: Bill granting cash gifts to seniors aged 80, 90 not yet law
The National Commission of Senior Citizens clarifies that Senate Bill No. 2028 still needs a signature from President Marcos for it to take effect

Claim:  Beginning 2024, all Filipinos turning 80 and 90 years old will receive cash gifts of P10,000 and P20,000, respectively. Additionally, all senior citizens will receive P1,000 monthly.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in a TikTok video with over 879,000 views, 20,800 likes, and 860 comments. The audio was also used in 12 separate TikTok videos as of writing. 

The video’s narrator claims that the cash gift for senior citizens is mandated under “Republic Act 2028” or the “Centenarian Law.” 

The facts: The video misrepresents Senate Bill No. 2028, or Expanding the Coverage of the Centenarians Act, as an enacted law. In a January 13 Facebook post, National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) chairman and lawyer Franklin Quijano clarified that the Senate bill has not yet been signed into law by the President.

“Until President Bongbong Marcos signs it and the Department of Budget (DBM) funds it, SB 2820 will not take effect yet,” the commission said. 

Quijano also debunked another claim made in the video that all senior citizens will receive a P1,000 monthly cash grant. Only indigent senior citizens, or those who are “frail, sickly or with disability, and without pension or permanent source of income, compensation or financial assistance from his/her relatives to support his/her basic needs” are entitled to the stipend. As stipulated under the Social Pension for Indigent Seniors Act, which lapsed into law in July 2022, the monthly pension for indigent senior citizens is P1,000.

Expanded coverage: Senate Bill No. 2028 seeks to expand the coverage of the Centenarians Act of 2016, which awards a P100,000 cash gift to Filipinos turning 100. The bill’s sponsors said the passage of the measure into law would benefit more senior citizens and help pay for their living expenses, healthcare, and other necessities.

The stated amounts of the cash grants in the proposed bill are subject to change after one year from the effectivity of the law, depending on the average annual inflation in the preceding three years to be determined by the National Economic Development Authority.

The Senate approved the bill on third and final reading on September 25, 2023, but it has not yet been signed into law. 

Fact-checked: Rappler has previously debunked false claims on cash grants supposedly for senior citizens:

– Larry Chavez/Rappler.com

Larry Chavez is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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