House panel okays more benefits for seniors, centenarians

Published June 23, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza 

In less than three minutes, the House Special Committee on Senior Citizens on Tuesday, June 23 unanimously approved a substitute bill granting P25,000 cash gift to the elderly upon reaching the age of 80, and P1-million cash gifts to those centenarians who reach the age of 101 and another P1-million on their 102th birthday.

During a virtual hearing, the House panel, chaired by Senior Citizens partylist Rep. Francisco Datol Jr. passed the measure, which is a consolidation of 21 bills. It seeks to amend Section 2 of Republic Act No. 10868 or the “Centenarians Act of 2016”.

Datol said the substitute measure is the product of the House panel’s technical working group (TWG) meeting last May 14, 2020.

He said the measure will be referred to the House Committee On Appropriations, chaired by ACT-CIS partylist Rep. Eric Yap for its consideration and approval.

“We will prepare and approve the committee report of the substitute bill in the next committee meetings when we get the approval of the Committee on Appropriations,” he said.

Last May 14, the TWG of the House special panel passed a consolidated bill seeking to grant in advance the centenarian cash incentive in four tranches. Under the bill, P25,000 cash gift shall be granted to senior citizens, who reach 80 years old, and another P25,000 when they turn 85, 90 and 95 years old.

The measure also provides that P1-million cash gift shall be given to those centenarians who reach the age of 101 and another P1-million on their 102th birthday.

Under RA 10868, centenarians whether residing in the Philippines or abroad are entitled to a cash reward of P100,000.

“We have lowered the age to 80 years old kasi nga bihira na ‘yung 100 years old, (because it is rare to reach 100 years old) and tumanggap lang noong nakaraang taon ay 400 lang eh, anlaki naman ng budget kasi nyan (and last year, only 400 received the cash reward, we have a big budget for that),” Datol told the Manila Bulletin in an earlier phone interview.

Datol said they agreed that cash gifts amounting to P25,000 be given to senior citizens who reach the age of 80, and another P25,000 be given when they turn to 85, 90, and 95 years old.

He said those centenarians who are receiving P100,000 under the law, will receive P1 million on their 101th birthday, and another P1 million when they reach the age of 102.

“Kasi kokonti lang naman ang tumatanggap nun eh kaya naman pondohan ng gobyerno nun (Only few are receiving it, and it can be funded by the government,” he said.

He said the early disbursements of cash gifts will allow the elderly to use such incentive to buy medicines, and augment other basic needs, and other daily expenses at a much earlier age.

He expressed hope that the bill will be passed and enacted into law within this year.