Valenzuela City’s dream of building a safe haven for abandoned and abused elderly Valenzuelanos has finally come to fruition with the opening of Bahay Kanlungan Tahanan nina Lolo at Lola in Barangay Maysan on July 9, 2021. The inauguration and blessing of the city’s Home for the Aged kickstart the monthlong 152nd Birth Anniversary of its nation’s hero, Dr. Pio Valenzuela.
The four-storey facility, which also welcomes Persons with Disability or Impairment (PWDIs), endeavors to provide the care and love that the elders and disadvantaged members of the society need and deserve.
The creation of Bahay Kanlungan was mandated by City Ordinance No. 863, Series of 2021. The Ordinance likewise seeks to provide the Valenzuelano elderlies and PWDIs with “equitable access to medical and physical home care through personalized and intelligent evidence-based psychosocial and spiritual modalities.” This is in pursuant to Republic Act No. 7876 or “An Act Establishing a Senior Citizens Center in All Cities and Municipalities of the Philippines and Appropriating Funds Therefore,” and Republic Act No. 10070, or the “Magna Carta for Disabled Persons”.
Councilor Atty. Bimbo dela Cruz, author of the Bahay Kanlungan Ordinance, took time to thank the senior citizens of Valenzuela saying, “We owe a lot to them, kasi ang mga senior citizens natin, they are the foundation of this great city. …Ang sabi po nila, ‘true progress is measured by how we treat the most vulnerable members of our society’.”
Atty. Dela Cruz adds, “Dito sa Lungsod ng Valenzuela, masasabi ho natin at mapapatunayan natin na napaka-progresibo natin dahil inaalagaan natin ang kapakanan ng ng mga taong hindi kayang alagaan ang kanilang mga sarili. Mga lolo’t lola, may bago [na] ho kayong bahay sa Valenzuela.”
“This is our third facility dedicated to three of our most vulnerable sectors. Our first halfway house, Bahay Kalinga was created with our neglected and abused children… The second one, Bahay Pag-asa, was established for our juvenile offenders or children in conflict with the law (CICLs). And now, we proudly open Bahay Kanlungan for our abandoned and neglected seniors. These three residential facilities will surely complement each other,” Mayor REX explains.
To date, Valenzuela City is the only local government unit in Metro Manila that has separate halfway houses for the three (3) marginalized sectors. The City’s first two halfway homes have been accredited and recognized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for their holistic program and for facilities that comply with the requirements of the state.
Part of Bahay Kanlungan’s mandate is to ensure that the Qualified Senior Citizens and PWDIs receive intensive long or short-term home care services. These services may come in the form of medical attention, psychotherapeutic treatment, psychosocial intervention, or spiritual care.
The facility may also offer vocational training, technical education and skills training to its clients once it partners with learning institutions like the Valenzuela City Polytechnic College, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Valenzuela, and others.
With the creation of Bahay Kanlungan is the establishment of the Bahay Kanlungan Office, which serves as a governing office for its administrative and operational concerns. It is linked to the Office of the City Mayor and the CSWDO for policy and program coordination and funding.
As the City has always been a champion for inclusivity, its local Home for the Aged accepts Qualified Senior Citizens and PWDIs regardless if they are Valenzuela residents or not.
Immediate family members of Qualified Senior Citizens and PWDIs may opt to have them admitted voluntary to Bahay Kanlungan as long as the requirements are satisfied under the Ordinance. Qualified Senior Citizens and PWDIs up for compulsory admission can also be accommodated.
For Qualified Senior Citizens and PWDIs residing within Valenzuela City, the following rates will be charged depending on the applicant or his/her immediate family’s income:
The fees collected from the residents will be used for the various home care services offered by Bahay Kanlungan.
However, Qualified Senior Citizens and PWDIs who are non-Valenzuela residents will be billed PhP 15,000 monthly. They will also shoulder all medical expenses they have accumulated while admitted in Bahay Kanlungan.
The PhP 53-million Bahay Kanlungan is a product of the partnership between the City Government of Valenzuela and the DPWH through the efforts of Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.
Meticulous planning and careful thought were put into the design of the residential facility, “Madaling magpagawa ng pasilidad, pero ‘yung extra effort na iparamdam natin na we truly care, iba ‘yun… Dito sa Valenzuela City, pinag-isipan natin nang mabuti kung paano mararamdaman ng ating mga senior citizens sa kanilang mga huling taon ang kalinga na mula sa estado,” the Mayor shares.
Bahay Kanlungan was designed much like a Filipino house of the yesteryears to give it a nostalgic but cozy vibe and make the clients feel at home.
Although it only has a 60-bed capacity, Bahay Kanlungan is spacious enough to initially cater to 75 elderly residents and found adults with mental illnesses originally from Bahay Kalinga.
It also has a dining area/multipurpose hall, an administration office, clinic, a receiving area, a kitchen, and a laundry area on the ground floor. The second floor houses a two-room female sleeping quarters, a lounge/entertainment area, and an isolation room, while the third floor sports the same layout but is reserved for male clients. A garden with wide-open spaces can be found on the fourth floor where the clients can exercise, relax, and engage in other physical activities.
Bahay Kanlungan is set to accept clients on July 16th, a full week from its opening.
Joining Mayor REX Gatchalian in this momentous event are Vice Mayor Lorena Natividad-Borja, Deputy Speaker Cong. WES Gatchalian, District 1 Councilors Rovin Andrew Feliciano and Atty. Walter Magnum “Bimbo” dela Cruz, Liga ng mga Barangay President Coun. Bienvenido “Jonjon” Bartolome, Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) President Exequiel “Goyong” Serrano, and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Metro Manila District Engineer Ruel V. Umali.
Also present are Punong Barangays Danilo Cantillon (Barangay Maysan) and Mario San Andres (Barangay Canumay West) and Council, SK Chairs Micah Mallari and Regine Francesca Donesa), City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) Officer-in-Charge Ms. Dorothy Evangelista, Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) OIC Ms. Snooky Cortez, City Engineering Office Head Engr. Reynaldo Sunga, and Special Projects Head Arch. Glenn Encarnacion.