ILOILO CITY—The provision of additional cash incentives to centenarians will depend on the availability of funds, Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said in response to an ordinance enacted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) “honoring and granting additional benefits and privileges to Ilonggo centenarians”.
The mayor said the ordinance passed by the SP on Tuesday is yet to reach his office. However, even without the local legislation, the city government has already initiated the Centenarian Incentive Award that grants P10,000 each to an elderly who reached the age of 100.
The fund is taken from the 0.5-percent share intended for senior citizens from the 1 percent of the city’s annual budget. The 1-percent share from the budget is mandatory. It is divided between persons with disability and the senior citizens.
Aside from the Centenarian Incentive Award, the fund intended for senior citizens is also being utilized for the local social pension of indigent elderly. Just last month, the city government completed the distribution of around P5 million for 10,000 indigent senior citizens.
The money, said Elpidio D. Azuelo Jr. of the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs Office, was one-half of what was allotted for the poorest of the poor senior citizens. The city government allots P1,000 annually for the target recipients.
“I’ll have it reviewed by our budget,” Mabilog said, adding according to a study conducted prior to the provision of the local social pension, the city government can only afford P1,000.
However, he said once the budget review showed the city has fund, then there was no question as to the granting of additional cash incentives.
“What is important is that it falls within the 0.5-percent share of the senior citizens,” he said.
On April 4 Councilor Armand Parcon, chairman of the Committee on Veterans, Retirees, Elderly and Disabled Persons, was able to get the nod of his colleagues for his ordinance appropriating P1 million annually for the additional cash incentives.
“There is a need to give tribute to Ilonggo centenarians who have spent their lifetime in contributing to nation-building, it pays homage to life and longevity. The dwindling centenarian population, living to 100 years is a milestone definitely worth the celebration,” Parcon said.
Meanwhile, Azuelo said since 2013 until this year, the Centenarian Incentive Award has already benefited 28 of their members. Just this year two centenarians received P10,000 each and a certificate from the city government.
The highest number of centenarians who were granted the P10,000 was in 2014 with 13 and in 2016 with 10. In 2015 the incentive was availed by three centenarians.
Azuelo, however, said they have not monitored whether all the grantees are still alive as of press time.
At the national level, centenarians are also entitled to a P100,000 cash incentive through the Department of Social Welfare and Development.