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P100k gift too late for centenarians

04:03 AM July 04, 2017

A case of too little, too late? Well, maybe not too little. But yes, perhaps too late.

Approved by the House of Representatives as House Bill No. 834, the Centenarians Act of 2010 gives Filipino senior citizens reaching the ripe old age of 100 a cash gift of P100,000, plus 50 percent discount on the purchase of goods and services, as well as exemptions on value-added tax. Authored by then Minority Leader Edcel Lagman, the bill is well-intended, and is doubtless welcome news to the estimated 8,000 superseniors it is meant to bless.

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But of what good is a hundred thousand pesos to a centenarian? Sure, it may help defray the cost of hospital and medical bills, pay for medication and caregivers — a dismal list — but will it really bring cheer to the hearts of the old dears? I doubt it!

Likewise, whom will it really benefit, the intended beneficiaries, or their caregivers? Not that caregivers don’t deserve to be rewarded. But if the amount is genuinely intended to ease the lot and bring cheer to the targeted beneficiaries, shouldn’t it perhaps be made earlier, at a time in their
lives when they can still enjoy its benefits say, at 90 instead of 100?

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Let’s face it! There is not much a 100-year-old can do with P100,000, no matter how healthy or fit he/she may be at that age. A decade earlier perhaps, and the beneficiary may be better able to appreciate, use and enjoy the gift. But at 100, it’s like giving the centenarian a pair of dancing shoes!

BLANCHE DAVID-GALLARDO, Muntinlupa City

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TAGS: Blanche David-Gallardo, cash gift for centenarians, Centenarians Act, Inquirer letters, Inquirer Opinion
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