Francisca “Lola Iska” Susano lived to a ripe old 124 years; that’s one and a quarter centuries! Born in revolutionary times, 1897 September on the island of Negros Occidental, she outlived many of her own children. Old age: blessing or curse?
A week after she passed, I learned from listening to naturalist Dr. Samuel Alibrando, who resides in the Philippines, that the queen bee is queen because “her only responsibility” is to breed families of bees and her lifespan is equivalent to something like 25 human generations!
“Mabuhay!” implies a long and happy life. First, let’s congratulate Senator Bong Go for the courage to stop his presidential campaign because his mind, heart, and body were not in full harmony from the very start – and for what? To live a stressful life as head of government?
Will we ever know the secret of Lola Iska’s long life – genes, diet, prayer, hard work, family love? Will we know how many of the candidates for 18,801 electoral positions are goaded by the spirit of public service or for selfish reasons like privilege, power, and glory? Senator Go is telling us he wants to be healthy and live a long and happy life, but if helping people who would otherwise not have access to free medical care through PhilHealth, PCSO, DSWD, and 149 Malasakit Centers throughout the country were not enough public service, where would those three million patients be today?
The man behind Malasakit is not even 60. He could team up with Senior Citizens party-list Rep. Rodolfo “Ompong” Ordanes and help the poor, sick, and neglected oldies earn a bit of cash to tide them over their sunset years.
Rep. Ompong, former city assessor of Quezon City, has a record of public service that people he has helped would willingly swear to. He made it his job to cut red tape, answer questions and provide solutions and action instead of prolonging the agony of dealing with foggy bureaucrats and petty underlings. His Christmas wish is for his proposal to become law: rewarding the venerable elderly like Iska with P1 million upon reaching their 100th birthday, and P25,000 to each senior citizen every five years from age 80 and up.
Merry Christmas bonus, Lola and Lolo!