Senior citizens still skeptical over reforms
As one of the advocates of the bill creating the National Commission for Senior Citizens, I was recently invited to an assembly to explain the legislation to senior citizens. (The House of Representatives and the Senate are expected to consolidate their bills after the midterm elections next month.)
The proposed commission will be composed of qualified senior citizens who will create, supervise or manage all programs and projects for the welfare of seniors.
Many of the seniors cheered at the news, since it is only now that such law was enacted after so many years of many of us having worked for it. They voiced out that, at last, senior citizens’ concerns will be attended to and cared for by their fellow seniors who are knowledgeable about their needs.
Other bills addressing senior citizens’ concerns that are still pending in Congress are on: (1) increasing pensions; (2) equalizing pension benefits, inasmuch as there are many pension laws with different benefits; (3) amending the law that grants P100,000 to those who reach 100 years of age, by partially releasing the cash benefit upon reaching 85, 90 and 95 years of
age, and the balance upon reaching 100 years of age; and (4) representation for seniors in the boards of directors or trustees of SSS, GSIS and PhilHealth.
After the assembly, many seniors approached me, and many of them were skeptical, pessimistic and doubtful of meaningful changes that will improve their welfare. What is also needed now are programs that will address the negativism among some seniors, some of whom even welcome early exit from this life.
MAFEO R. VIBAL, Vice President, Philippine Association of Retired Persons
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