DSWD Shares Update for “Malaya Lolas” Cash Aid

In response to historical injustices faced by the Malaya Lolas—elderly women forced into sexual slavery during World War II—the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has committed to integrating all surviving members into its social pension program for indigent seniors. This program will provide an important financial safety net, offering PHP 1,000 monthly to seniors who lack a pension and face disabilities or illnesses.

The steps outlined for claiming this aid include determining eligibility, gathering necessary documentation, and engaging with local DSWD offices or support groups. This not only aims to provide monetary support but also serves as a significant acknowledgment of the sufferings endured by these women, fulfilling a long-standing need for recognition and reparative justice.

malaya lolas
Credits: DSWD / Facebook

A Step Forward in Compassion and Support

The plight of the Malaya Lolas, a group of elderly women who suffered grievous injustices during World War II, has long been a somber chapter in Philippine history. These women, forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers, have carried the scars of their experiences throughout their lives. In a recent development, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has announced a significant update in their commitment to these survivors.

Monthly Aid for the Malaya Lolas

Assistant Secretary Elaine Fallarcuna of the DSWD confirmed that efforts are being made to enroll all surviving Malaya Lolas into the social pension program for indigent seniors. This program is significant as it provides financial assistance to seniors who are either suffering from disabilities or illnesses and lack a pension or stable income. Each qualified senior receives PHP 1,000 every month, disbursed biannually to simplify distribution. This move comes as a response to ongoing criticisms of the government’s handling of the reparations and recognition owed to these women.


Overcoming Challenges in Implementation

Currently, out of the 18 Malaya Lolas identified, only 10 have been registered as beneficiaries, with the remainder still undergoing evaluation. The DSWD has been working closely with the Kaisa-Ka sa Malaya Lolas, an advocacy group, to ensure these women receive the support they need. These efforts include quarterly updates and coordination to expedite the inclusion process. By the second semester of 2024, the DSWD aims to have all these women officially recognized within the pension program.

A Broader Context of Support

The recognition of the Malaya Lolas comes in the wake of a directive from President Marcos, following a United Nations ruling which highlighted the Philippine government’s failure to provide adequate reparation and support for these women. The administration’s move to include all Malaya Lolas in the social pension program not only provides them with financial aid but also acts as a form of long overdue recognition of their suffering.

How to Claim the DSWD Cash Aid for WWII Survivors

dswd malaya lolas
Credits: DSWD / Facebook

If you are a survivor or know someone eligible for the DSWD social pension program for WWII survivors, such as the Malaya Lolas, here’s a step-by-step guide to help claim the monthly cash aid:

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

Ensure that the individual is recognized as a WWII survivor and meets the criteria for the social pension program. This includes being 60 years or older, suffering from a disability or illness, and lacking a pension or stable source of income.

Step 2: Gather Necessary Documentation

Collect all required documents which may include:

  • Valid ID (government-issued like Senior Citizen ID, Postal ID, or any other valid ID)
  • Birth certificate or any legal document proving age
  • Medical certificates if applicable
  • Proof of no pension (statement from SSS, GSIS, or other pension-providing bodies stating non-receipt of pension benefits)

Step 3: Contact Local DSWD Office or Kaisa-Ka sa Malaya Lolas

Get in touch with your local DSWD office to inquire about the application process for the specific program catering to WWII survivors. You can also contact Kaisa-Ka sa Malaya Lolas or similar advocacy groups for assistance and guidance through the process.

Step 4: Submit Application

Fill out the application form provided by the DSWD and submit it along with all the necessary documents to your local DSWD office. Ensure that all information provided is accurate to avoid any delays in processing.

Step 5: Attend Assessment

The DSWD may require a personal assessment to verify the condition and needs of the applicant. Be prepared to provide further evidence of eligibility and need for assistance during this assessment.

Step 6: Follow Up

Keep track of your application status by following up with the DSWD office. It’s important to remain proactive to ensure that your application is being processed in a timely manner.

Step 7: Receive Aid

Once approved, the cash aid will be disbursed every six months. The beneficiary or their designated representative will need to sign for receipt of the pension, which may be collected at designated payout centers or through other means arranged by DSWD.

Important Tips:

  • Ensure that all documents are complete and photocopied where necessary before submission.
  • Seek assistance from local officials or non-government organizations if you encounter difficulties in the application process.
  • Regularly check for updates from the DSWD or your local advocacy group regarding any changes in the pension program or additional support services available.

Video: Kilalanin ang mga ‘Malaya Lola’ | I-Witness

For years, the harrowing nightmares endured by many Filipino women during the Japanese occupation seemed forgotten. However, the “Malaya Lolas” group, formed by the grandmothers of Mapaniqui, emerged to share their stories and advocate for justice. Their powerful voices demand recognition and accountability for the injustices they suffered.


The Road Ahead

While the program to provide monthly pensions to the Malaya Lolas is a commendable step towards justice, it also underscores the need for continuous support and advocacy for victims of historical injustices. The Philippine government’s proactive approach in this case sets a precedent for handling similar cases in the future, ensuring that all individuals who have suffered from past atrocities are acknowledged and supported.

This development is not just about providing financial aid; it’s about restoring dignity and giving voice to those who had been silenced for too long. It’s a reminder of the strength and resilience of the Malaya Lolas, and a testament to the enduring spirit of those who advocate on their behalf. As we move forward, it is important that we continue to listen to, support, and uplift all those who have endured similar fates.

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