MANILA – Concerned agencies were asked on Wednesday by lawmakers to fully implement Republic Act (RA) 10868 known as The Centenarians Act of 2016, which grants a centenarian gift amounting to PHP100,000 to elderlies that reached 100 years old.
The matter came up during the public hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare, and Rural Development presided by Senator Imee Marcos when proposed measures of Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. and Senate Majority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III were being discussed.
She pointed out that the government should be able to reach out to centenarians who did not receive their incentives yet.
"Wala kayong pambayad eh. Kaya pabalik-balik walang pambayad (You don't have the payment. That's why they keep on coming back because you can't pay them. They are qualified)," Marcos said.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported that out of 2,465 centenarians, the agency was able to serve 1,692 in 2022 and can serve 755 more this year.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said problems in the distribution of benefits for centenarians must be addressed by easing the requirements.
"We need to also resolve the distribution both in terms of efficiency and practicality because we are talking about the people who have reached 100 years old and a lot of them are bed ridden, hindi na makaalis (can't move anymore). May mga requirements na hindi na (There are requirements that are not) practical like school records," Gatchalian said.
Revilla and Pimentel's proposed measures seek to amend RA 10868 to also provide PHP10,000 cash incentive for elderlies aging 80 to 90 years old.
Revilla said that under the present law, only those who reach the age of 100 years old can enjoy the benefit of a cash gift.
With the proposed amendment, he said, the government will give in advance the monetary benefits afforded for the Centenarian Law so that even those who reach 80 years old and 90 years old can now receive a cash gift.
"Alam nating malaking tulong ito sa kanila lalo na sa kanilang pangunahing pangangailangang personal at medikal. Sabi nga eh (We know that this is a big help for them especially in their personal and medical needs. They say) life is too short and at least we can do for our elderly countrymen is to ensure that while they are still here with us, they get to experience and enjoy benefits and assistance from the state)," he said.
The proposed measure, Revilla said, needs PHP4.5 billion fund, which the national government's economic managers said needs a particular fund source.
According to DSWD's "Listahanan", there are a total of 17,742 Filipinos who are 90 years old and above as of 2017.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Statistics Authority projected that the number of Filipinos who are aging 80 years old and above could reach 1,138,400 in 2025. (PNA)