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Centenarian’s Law: More than just giving a cash gift

For 100-year-old Fidela Bondoy, reaching this age is her wealth. She said her secrets to long life are eating vegetables, drinking tea, and praying fervently.

Born on April 24, 1921, Lola Fidela continues to enjoy the gift of good life and health with her family. Her prayers for a long life have been answered as she has lived this long to see not only her eight grand children but also her 93 great grandchildren.

Lola Fidela’s family

Lola Fidela got married to Rufino Bondoy when she was only 18 years old and shared that their life together was filled with trials. Having no education, she weaved mats, fans, and cooked delicacies for livelihood. Lolo Rufino, on the other hand, had his own scissor’s shop or ‘pagawaan ng gunting.’

Lolo Rufino passed away at the age of 87, leaving Lola Fidela under the care of her two daughters.

Lagi kong ipinapanalangin sa Diyos na sana lumawig pa ang buhay ko kasi gusto kong maalagaan ang mga apo ko” (I always pray to God to grant me longer life because I still want to take care of my grandchildren), Lola Fidela said.

Centenarian’s cash grant is a blessing

Despite her age, she is still very eager, active, and conversational. She immediately got up and peeked from the door when a personnel from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) came to visit her humble home in Brgy. Bogñabong, Tabaco City.

The Department granted Lola Fidela P100,000 as cash incentive for her 100 years of contribution to the nation as stipulated under Republic Act 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016.

Centenarians, rich or poor, residing in the country or abroad, are entitled to receive a Php100,000 “centenarian gift”, among other incentives provided by concerned local government units, as well as a Letter of Felicitation from the President.

Lola Fidela expressed her happiness over the cash gift. She stated that the P100,000 cash award from the DSWD is a blessing from above.

“Binawasan ko lang pambili ng gatas at pagkain ko. Tapos yung tira ipinalagay ko sa bangko para madagdagan” (I used some amount from my cash gift for my food and milk. The rest of it, I have kept in a bank), Lola Fidela shared.

Lola Fidela’s daughter, Esperanza, reiterated that the cash award given to her mother in July 2021 was kept safely in a bank. She further disclosed that the family has reserved the remaining amount for her mother’s final insurance plan as well.

Since 2016, some 257 centenarians in the Bicol Region have received government recognition and incentives.

Of the total served in the region, 93 centenarians received the incentive and felicitations in 2016; 32 in 2017; 37 in 2018; 43 in 2019; 42 in 2020; and 45 in 2021.

At the national level, a total of 8,568 centenarians were served since the passage of the Act, with the breakdown as follows: 2,739 centenarians in 2016; 940 in 2017; 1,509 in 2018; 1,090 in 2019; 985 in 2020; and 1,305 in 2021.

For the centenarians, the cash given to them is a gift that helps them with their needs as they grow older. But for the Filipino nation, the cash gift is an expression of gratitude and a gesture of respect for the centenarians’ contributions to the development of the country.

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