Honoring our senior citizens


Calling the attention of SM management.

Since a few weeks ago, Quezon City senior citizens have been given the privilege of free parking in malls in other areas of the city—a first for Metro Manila. However, there are still some glitches in the implementation of this benefit. It appears not all personnel of the establishments concerned are conversant with the new regulation and continue to charge senior citizens the usual parking fees.

One Quezon City senior citizen, Alberto “Bert” Moguel writes that last month, he was exiting the SM North Edsa parking exit gate No. 3 when the lady manning the booth refused to honor his senior citizen status and required the payment of the P45-parking fee. She called for the security guard and both insisted on the payment, claiming that they had not received any rules or guidelines from management on the matter. “Since I was in a hurry to leave, I decided to just pay the fee instead of arguing with the lady and the guard.”

We hope SM management can rectify this situation soonest. Other SM malls in Quezon City are already implementing this regulation so I believe it is just a matter of disseminating the information to all concerned personnel.

We look forward to the day when other cities in Metro Manila will extend similar benefits to their senior citizens. Perhaps, it is just a matter of bringing the issue to the attention of chief executives of the other communities.

* * *

Every now and then, the newspapers come out with full-page advertisements extolling certain individuals or organizations for outstanding work in various fields of endeavor. Their pictures are plastered all over the page. Sometimes the names are those of prominent personalities. They are usually wealthy, powerful, influential or popular figures in society. Sometimes they are truly deserving of the honors. At times, I wonder what’s so outstanding about their work.

On Sunday at the San Beda College, honors were handed out to a different set of individuals. None of them could be considered wealthy, popular or influential. Neither are they popular figures. But they share two common distinctions—they are all senior citizens from different parts of the country and they are outstanding in their service to others. Nothing earth-shaking, just a helping hand for the community.

Eight are female, two are male, most are in their 70s and 60s, and one is 99 years old.

Let me start with the oldest.

Juan P. Reglos, 99, from Batangas.

“Mamay” Juan is not connected with any group but is simply a good man, a farmer who raised his family (11 children), was a barangay captain and a good one who lived simply, helping anyone in need.

Roman Andaya, 80, Camarines Norte.

Roman is an Aeta leader chosen for his wisdom in struggling for the ancestral domain of the Aeta. While successful in attaining 22 hectares for his group, he has continued to assist other Aeta organizations in Camarines Norte. At the same time, he works to reinforce traditional Aeta culture though he himself has little formal education. He has consistently opposed the entrance of mining operations.

Glorinia Gremio, 76, Quezon City.

Glorinia volunteered to become a health worker monitoring the health of members in the community. When the group decided to open its own drugstore, she volunteered to become its manager. She also cleans the church every Saturday afternoon in preparation for Sunday services.

Florencia Antonio Miranda, 75, Valenzuela City.

Florencia has dedicated her life to making the lives of the elderly fruitful and productive by conducting seminars on health care, income generation, exercise and herbal medicine.  She also conducts leadership training for senior citizens.

Julieta P. Abonado, 74, Cotabato.

Julieta is a retired midwife who became treasurer of the community funds and, because of honesty in guarding money of the group, was able to increase benefits from P2,000 to P10,000. She was active in the cooperative movement and was instrumental in monitoring health care, improving roads and cleaning up her barangay.

Imelda M. Saturay, 74, Lucena City.

Through the community cooperative, she was able to buy four jeepneys and 10 tricycles to which she introduced the “boundary-hulog” system so that drivers would eventually own the vehicles. She reactivated the senior citizens group and invited NGOs to train older people in health care and similar activities.

Alejandra J. Morales, 69, Batangas.

“Chit” served at the PGH for 39 years and returned as a volunteer. Her ability to deal with patients especially indigent patients, has made her an exceptional employee of the institution.

Pilar Jimenez Bonete, 65, Lanao del Norte.

Pilar is a retired schoolteacher and widow who has become a community organizer for women, developing livelihood assistance and at the same time, encouraging Muslims and Christians alike to organize in order to avail of the benefits for older people.

Edenita B. Lachama, 62, Legazpi City.

“Manay” Eden has been a volunteer health worker for 19 years, specializing on TB patients. She has consistently required patients to follow the six-month regimen of medicine so that they may be cured of the disease. She also assists in monitoring the health of the elderly, especially those in the poorest areas.

Gloria L. Tabon, 61, Benguet.

Gloria is a service-oriented person, deeply identified with her Kankana-ey culture. As such, she has initiated projects to preserve and reinforce the culture. She assists others to earn income from such activities as tapis- and bead-making.

These 10 individuals were honored with the “Ulirang Nakatatanda” Awards sponsored by the Coalition of Services for the Elderly (Cose).

For those not familiar with Cose, the group was founded in 1989 and is the only non-government organization (NGO) in the country helping older people to continue contributing to the welfare of society. Cose believes that it is important for older people to remain in the community to share their experiences and wisdom, and to teach us all about our own aging.

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Tags: Free Parking , Senior citizens , SM

  • Anonymous

    Senior citizens are capable of contributing to society, they have a lot of experiences, wisdom from which we can learn. Do not ever put them aside, put value in them as they are human beings like us who also have the need to feel needed. 

    Go to Japan and you will see many senior citizens actively participating in community development projects. Let us learn from this example and give respect to our senior citizens. 

  • Anonymous

    I think its high time to appreciate and acknowledge the contribution of our senior citizens in the development of our country.

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