By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House Special Committee on Senior Citizens has approved a substitute bill granting, P25,000 cash gifts to senior citizens, who reach 85 years old; another P25,000 to those who reach 90; and an additional P50,000 who reach the age of 95.
The House panel, presided by its vice chairperson Senior Citizens Rep. Milagros Aquino-Magsaysay, passed the unnumbered substitute bill that seeks to amend Section 2 of Republic Act 10868 or the “Centenarians Act of 2016”
The measure seeks to include senior citizens who reach 85, 90, and 95 in the grant of cash gifts. It substituted HBs 8208, 8274, 8559, 8768 and 7821 authored by Baguio Rep. Mark Go , Pasay City Rep. Emi Calixto-Rubiano, San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, and Camarines Rep. Luis Raymund ‘LRay’ Villafuerte Jr., respectively.
Under the bill, senior citizens who reach 100 years old shall receive a letter of felicitation from the President of the Philippines, congratulating them on their longevity and a Centenarian Gift in the amount of P100,000 each.
The special committee decided to scrap a provision in the unnumbered substitute bill to adjust the cash gift annually by three percent beginning the year 2020.
The substitute bill provides that the requisite fund for the initial year of implementation shall be sourced from the available funds of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and subsequently the amount necessary to implement the provisions of the measure shall be included in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The measure tasks the Secretaries of the DSWD, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Health (DOH), and Commission on Filipinos Overseas to promulgate the necessary guidelines for and ensure the full-blown implementation of the proposed Act.
Aquino-Magsaysay assured that the measure will be immediately endorsed for plenary discussion and approval.
The measure is expected to be transmitted to the House Committee on Appropriations to approve the funding provision of the proposed Act.
Aquino-Magsaysay noted that newly-elected Majority Leader and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro has instructed all chairpersons to expedite the approval of measures referred to their respective committees.
“Once approved by the committee, the substitute bill could be transmitted to the Committee on Rules. And he assured me that he will see to it that our bill is approved before the adjournment,” she said.
Patricia Salvador, representative of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, thanked the panel for including in the bill the Filipino senior citizens who reside outside the country.
“I would like to thank the Special Committee on Senior Citizens for considering our overseas Filipino senior citizens. Opposite to the notion that they live better as senior citizens dito sa Philippines, it’s not always the case. Especially ‘yung mga nag-migrate as senior citizens already. They do not receive pensions kumpara doon sa nag-migrate at an early age. This is great for them,” she said.