New Year’s wish list for senior citizens | Inquirer Opinion
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New Year’s wish list for senior citizens

/ 04:01 AM January 04, 2021

When I was a young boy, my thoughts during Christmas season concentrated on the latest toys. Now that I am nearing 88 years, my thoughts now center on how to enjoy old age.

I discovered that I am not alone in this situation when I attended the online annual conference through Zoom, of the Coalition of Associations of Senior Citizens in the Philippines Inc. (Caspi) on Nov. 27, 2020. Fellow seniors like me cheered when Senior Citizens Party-List Rep. Rodolfo M. Ordanes reported that he filed a bill that will allow the partial release of the Centenarian Gift of P100,000 in cash upon reaching at least 80 years of age, without waiting for seniors to reach 100 years.

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The participating seniors were one in saying that they’d rather get a partial amount during the time they need it for their maintenance medicines and other urgent needs, instead of waiting for the full amount which they may never get as nobody is assured of living up to 100 years. Republic Act No. 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016 provides that a person who reaches the age of 100 gets the cash gift of P100,000. Makati, Parañaque, and Cebu now have city ordinances that allow the partial advance of this centenarian cash gift. As part of my obligation, I attended another online conference, this time, of the Philippine Association of Retired Persons (PARP), to report on the Caspi annual meeting. When talks centered on the “cash gift,” someone pointed out that not all pensioners and certainly not all seniors receive the annual cash gift given to retirees under some retirement laws, similar to the 13th-month pay of current employees. A senior from Metro Manila reported that the Government Service Insurance System does not give the so-called “cash gift” at the end of the year, to retirees under RA 7699 or the Portability Act.

Another senior pointed out that RA 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 provides that all pensioners should be given the same rights, privileges, and benefits that are granted to pensioners under other retirement gift and the right to get an increase in pension.

FEATURED STORIES

Based on the above observations, the PARP members drafted a board resolution requesting Ordanes to convince Congress to :

1) Amend RA 10868 to allow partial release of the centenarian cash gift;

2) Amend RA 7699 to grant pensioners under this law, the annual cash gift and the right to get an increase in pension;

3) Amend the “social pension” law and grant pension to all seniors. At present, only the indigent and sickly seniors get the social pension, which the seniors claim should also be increased;

4) Establish a senior citizens assistance program to address the health, financial, and psychological well-being of seniors;

5) Undertake a real and accurate census of seniors nationwide to enable all seniors to get the intended benefit for them and to avoid the complaints regarding the Social Amelioration Program benefit distribution, where many people complained due to inaccurate listing.

The above are some of the wishes that seniors hope will be addressed by the government not only for this coming year, but for all time, as seniors journey to their sunset. As they say in Tagalog, “Tatanda rin kayo!”

MAFEO R. VIBAL
Vice President
External Affairs and Legislative Liaison Officer
Philippine Association of Retired Persons

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TAGS: Letters to the Editor, Senior citizens
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