SANTA CRUZ, Zambales—The Zambales provincial government inaugurated here on September 3 a building housing the office of the town’s Senior Citizens’ Federation, the latest project in a province-wide program to provide the elderly with a venue for their social and official activities.
Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr., who initiated the project, urged members of the federation to make it their tambayan, their own place to hang out, interact and bond with peers.
“Now, we also have a place where we can jointly celebrate your birthdays,” the governor said, referring to another initiative of his office to organize joint monthly birthday celebrations for elderly in all the municipalities of the province.
Ebdane inaugurated the building along with Zambales Senior Citizens’ Federation President Lea Mayormita, Santa Cruz Senior Citizens’ Federation President Onofre Arpapo Sr., Mayor Concepcion Marty and Office of Senior Citizens’ Affairs Head Miguel Molino.
“We’re putting this project up not only in recognition of the contribution of the elderly to the community, but also because we know that the seniors need their own social network,” said Ebdane, who is also a bona fide senior citizen at 65 years.
“They need to belong, to be productive members of the community even in their golden years. This office gives them a base for their activities and projects,” he said.
Provincial Engr. Domingo Mariano said the provincial government has already inaugurated similar offices for the elderly in seven of the 13 towns of Zambales: Masinloc, Iba, Palauig, Castillejos, San Narciso, Botolan and Santa Cruz. Two more buildings—those in the municipalities of San Felipe and Cabangan—are being completed and will be inaugurated next.
Meanwhile, the local government units of San Antonio and Subic have recently purchased lots for their own senior citizens’ building, Mariano said.
Each senior citizens’ office is in a two-stoy structure that also houses the office of the town’s barangay health workers. The seniors occupy the lower floor while the health workers get the top floor.
The seniors’ offices each have a lounge with a sofa set, television and DVD player, and refrigerator. The buildings housing the two offices, along with the furnishings, cost about P2.5 million each, Mariano said.
Officials of the provincial and municipal federations hailed the building program as a huge contribution for the promotion of the welfare of the elderly.
“We can never thank Governor Ebdane enough for all these things he has given us,” Mayormita said. “We are empowered and we feel very happy with what you do.”