- Category: Elderly
01 Sep 2013
- Written by Oliver Samson / Correspondent
THE elderly of Pasig City seem to enjoy the latter part of their life.
A spacious, well-furnished and air-conditioned Office for Senior Citizens Affairs (Osca), airport-like counters and waiting areas, and a significant portion of local wealth is meant to pamper the old age.
Instead of decreasing, the blue card-bearing elderly in the city grows in number, said Alejandro E. Santiago, President of the Federation of Senior Citizens Association of Pasig City Inc.
“As of May 2013, we have 43,731 blue-card holders,” he said.
The blue card-bearing elderly are entitled to the benefits and privileges the local government of Pasig exclusively gives to its elderly population, said Santiago, a former councilor of the city.
Pasig City rewards its blue card-bearing elderly with cash gifts worth P2,000 annually in December as a Christmas present to the elderly, Nollie T. Bacsal, Osca action officer, said.
With 43,731 blue-card holders, the city shares with its elderly an annual budget of P87 million, he said.
“Hindi kami tumitingin kung indigent ang senior citizen para ma-avail nila ang mga iyan,” Bacsal said. “Pag tumungtong ng 60 years old maa-avail iyan. [We do not tell apart whether the elderly is indigent or not to receive it. Upon reaching the age of 60, they can avail themselves of these benefits.]”
Under the blue-card privileges, the city’s elderly receive cakes on their birthdays, he said. They can also watch free movies at two of the malls in Pasig City.
Hospitalization of blue-card holders at the Pasig City General Hospital (PCGH) is free, Santiago said. The prescribed medicine is also free if available at the hospital’s pharmacy.
Aside from free hospitalization, other health benefits and privileges Pasig City provides its elderly include free anti-pneumonia and anti-flu vaccines, he said.
“Free vaccines are ongoing,” Santiago said. “Upon request, they are given to senior citizens.”
The group of elderly in the barangay can ask the city’s medical staff to visit them in their respective area for free injection of vaccines, he said.
An anti-flu vaccine may cost more than P1,000, Bacsal said.
Another blue-card benefit is the P500 burial assistance from the local government, he said.
In 2012 1,467 beneficiaries in both districts received burial assistance from the mayor’s office, equivalent to P7.335 million.
“As of May 2013, 469 beneficiaries received burial assistance [for this year],” Santiago said. “That is equivalent to P2.3 million.”
Project Damayan is also tapped by the Osca to give the elderly who pass away a free casket, Bacsal said.
But to make life longer and livened up, an annual sports fest for the elderly is backed by Pasig City, Santiago said. Included are the bowling tournament and various board games, he said.
“This time, dadagdagan namin ng dart, dama at chess para mas maging masaya [This time, we will include dart, dama (local checkers) and chess to add more fun],” Bacsal said.
Pasig City has 32 elderly associations at the barangay level, he said. Each will participate in the games as a team.
About 400 selected elderly who are fit to play in the tournaments are set to compete among themselves, Bacsal said.
To cheer up the elderly, they make annual out-of-town trips, Santiago said. Tourist attractions are usually the destination.
“Dalawang tourist bus ang binibigay ng mayor’s office, at saka pagkain [Two tourist buses and food are provided by the mayor’s office],” he said.
The elderly are spoiled by the local government, Santiago said. They only need to request it from Mayor Maribel A. Eusebio.
“Masarap tumanda sa Pasig,” he said. “Minsan binibigyan kami libreng tickets sa concert. [Its enjoyable to grow old in Pasig. There are times free concert tickets are given to us].”
Eusebio is providing elderly associations with buildings as offices at the barangay level, Santiago said. One worth P3 million is under construction in Barangay Ugong.
The city is also currently creating a work force of the elderly who are retired from work but still willing to use their talent, Bacsal said. They will be designated to posts related to their former profession and receive financial allowance as compensation.
In line with the celebration of the elderly month, Pasig City’s elderly citizens will launch a bazaar at the Eusebio Quadrangle on October 7. Locally made products, such as salted eggs and dishwashing liquid will be showcased and sold.
On October 10 bedridden elderly in the barangays and PCGH patients will receive gifts from the local government.
Trips of the city’s old hats to Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan and the set of Eat Bulaga are also set on October 18 and 26, respectively.
In Photo: Federation of Senior Citizens Association of Pasig City Inc. President Alejandro E. Santiago (seated) joins Office for Senior Citizens Affairs Action Officer Nollie T. Bacsal in the federation’s office at Pasig City Hall. Santiago is a former councilor of the city. (Right photo) Inside Pasig City Hall, Window 1 processes transactions for burial assistance to the city’s elderly from the mayor’s office. (Oliver Samson)