ON FRIDAY, Feb. 4, an event dubbed ?Senior Citizens? Revolution? shall be launched at the Pacita Astrodome in San Pedro, Laguna, with Ms. Ballsy Aquino-Cruz as keynote speaker representing President Benigno Aquino III. Over 2,000 senior citizens including the provincial presidents of senior citizens? groups in various provinces will be in attendance.
The event is organized by Kabayanihan, a foundation that seeks to promote the greatness of the Filipino and our country through cultural transformation. Alex Lacson, who ran for senator in the last elections, is the founder and chair emeritus of the group. We all know Alex as the author of the bestselling book, ?Twelve Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country.? The president is Siegfred Mison of the Malcolm law firm, with Paul Chua as project director.
Inspired by the bestseller of Alex, the senior citizens of San Pedro, Laguna, came up with a similar list of what every senior citizen can do for the country. From the numerous suggestions and recommendations of the San Pedro group, the foundation came up with ?Twelve Little Things Every Senior Citizen Can Do To Help Our Country.? This will be presented to the gathering on Friday afternoon. I have been asked to say a few words on senior citizens? rights and responsibilities.
The ?Twelve Little Things Every Senior Citizen Can Do? are as follows:
1. Lead your family to pray daily for our country and people.
2. Exercise daily; eat healthy food.
3. Lead your family in cleaning your surroundings including the street fronting your house.
4. Obey traffic rules and follow the law. Be a good model for the youth.
5. Men should not pee anywhere on the streets. Be a good example for our youth.
6. Do not engage in gossip, rumor or character assassination. Promote friendship, harmony and unity in your community.
7. Speak positively about the Filipino and our Philippines. Be an ambassador of our race.
8. Buy local. Buy Filipino. Have faith in the Filipino.
9. Conserve water; plant a tree; dispose of your garbage properly.
10. Report any crime or illegal activity, especially those against the youth. Protect the young from physical and moral harm.
11. During elections, support and vote for the best candidate. Be part of the change.
12. Adopt a scholar or donate to scholarship programs. Invest in the future of our youth.
Last Nov. 30 (Andres Bonifacio Day), Kabayanihan also launched a ?Cultural Revolution by the Youth? during which a book on ?Twelve Little Things Every Filipino Youth Can Do To Help Our Country? was presented. President Aquino attended the event along with more than 1,000 student leaders from various organizations and schools.
In April, the foundation will launch in Las Vegas, USA, a similar book: ?Twelve Little Things Overseas Filipinos Can Do To Help Our Country.?
For our nation to succeed, it is the little things that count. These acts may not be headline material. They may not even be the subject of talk shows and TV documentaries. But taken as a whole, they contribute to the well-being and strength of the nation. Every Filipino is part of the solution; every sector of our society is part of the answer.
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More than a year ago, a group of senior citizens-members of the Alabang Country Club, Inc. (ACCI) in Muntinlupa City brought up the issue of the club?s non-compliance with the 20 percent senior citizen discount. Apparently, the position of ACCI at that time was that the senior citizen law was not applicable to a private club like the ACCI where membership was a privilege rather than a right.
A formal letter of complaint was sent to the Department of Social Welfare and Development as well as to the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) in the city.
As a result, Social Welfare Undersecretary Alicia Bala in a letter dated Nov. 6, 2009 informed the club that ?should your restaurant and other food outlets be independent concessionaires and the food sold are not consumable items under membership dues, they must grant the 20 percent senior citizen discount on food items exclusively consumed by Filipino elderly. The same goes for other services and facilities paid for separately and not considered as ?freebies? under regular membership fees.?
In April 2010, the ACCI membership elected a new board of directors, with Louie Morales as president. Last Nov. 6, the new board in compliance with the law passed Resolution No. 1981 which reads:
?Resolved, that the board hereby approves to terminate the imposition of the P500 monthly consumable fee on ACCI members for patronage of the food and beverage (F&B) effective Jan. 1, 2011;
?Resolved, further, that the General Manager is hereby instructed to inform the F&B concessionaires to start granting senior citizens discounts to ACCI members upon removal of the said consumables fee.
?The F&B concessionaire may require presentation of the OSCA card.?
I have mentioned in the past that legal action can often be divisive and expensive for all concerned. The services of many private clubs particularly restaurants and other food facilities, are provided by concessionaires. One can argue as to who should shoulder the senior citizen discount?the concessionaire or the club. But in the end what really matters is that the elderly in our society enjoy the benefits provided by law. It is best to keep in mind that eventually all of us will become senior citizens who shall enjoy the same benefits.
I congratulate Louie Morales and the members of the ACCI board for their positive response on senior citizen privileges. It is my hope that other private clubs will adopt the same attitude instead of employing legal means to circumvent the law which is designed specifically for the benefit of our elderly.
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For a senior citizen in Davao City.
Let me greet Zacarias Morales of Matina, Davao City, and thank him for his kind and generous words on our senior citizen advocacy. I have no intention of running for public office. My only ambition is to score a hole-in-one on the golf course before my legs run out on me.