A LAWMAKER on Sunday said Congress should include in its priority when it resumes session this month the passage of the proposed amendments to the Centenarian Act which provides cash incentives to senior citizens, especially at this time of pandemic when they count among the most vulnerable sectors needing government assistance.
Ang Probinsyano party-list Rep. Alfred Delos Santos is one of the authors of the bill seeking to change the law in a bid to “expand and extend to more of our elders the benefits from the Centenarian Act.”
“The amendment to the Centenarian Act would allow more of our senior citizens to benefit from the assistance provided under the law,” said
“The monetary aid would alleviate some hardships of our elders in the short-term by allowing them to purchase maintenance medicines and other needs particularly in the midst of a health crisis,” he added.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the number of senior citizens in the country has been increasing over the past decades despite the fact that the Philippines remains a young population, with median age hitting 23 years old in 2010.
The number of senior citizens, however, has been steadily moving up, reaching 7.55 million in 2015 from 4.57 million in 2000, or an increase of 65 percent, according to PSA. Filipinos aged 70 and over, account for 38 percent of all senior citizens, it added.
“Habang lumalaki ang populasyon ng mga lolo at lola, huwag na natin silang paghintayin pa ng matagal para sa mga benepisyong para sa kanila naman. Ang gusto natin ay ma-enjoy at mapakinabangan ng ating mga senior citizens ang cash gift lalo na sa panahong ito,” Delos Santos said.
In House Bill No. 4067 Delos Santos filed with the House of Representatives in 2019, the party-list lawmaker is pushing to advance the P100,000 cash gift to Filipino seniors who will reach the 100 years old to allow them to enjoy the benefits under the law.
According to his proposal, distribution of cash gifts should be given in advance as follows: P25,000 upon reaching 70 years old; P25,000 upon reaching 80 years old; P25,000 upon reaching 90 years old; and P25,000 together with a letter of felicitation upon reaching 100 years old.
Delos Santos’ proposal is now part of the consolidated House bills seeking to amend the Centenarian Act which advances the distribution of P25,000 cash benefit at the age of 80 and every five years thereafter, and another P100,000 when the senior citizen reaches 100 years old.
“The just and humane society that we as a people envision in the Constitution is one which takes care of their elderly and values their dignity as persons. This bill is a step towards that direction,” Delos Santos said.