Over six years after it became law in 2016, the House of Representatives is now trying to amend anew the Centenarians Act.
House Committee on Senior Citizens Chairman Rodolfo Ordanes said House Bill 7535 is now awaiting third reading approval at the lower chamber.
“In the years after 2016, the House of Representatives tried to amend RA 10868 in the 17th, 18th, and now again in the 19th Congress. We hope this salvo will succeed,” said Ordanes.
The Congress is currently on a summer break and will resume sessions on May 8.
According to the Senior Citizens party-list lawmaker, some 23 different bills on the centenarians’ cash grants were filed in the House during this 19th Congress.
“The House special committee on senior citizens affairs included in HB 7535 the Philippine Statistics Authority as one of the agencies the implementing agency must consult with. The PSA has the database about seniors and all citizens because of the Philippine National ID System,” he said.
Some language in HB 7535 is now gender-neutral, said Ordanes.
Instead of the “his or her” usage, the lawmaker said the bill opted to use the gender-neutral “one’s.”
About the birthday cash benefits, Ordanes said seniors reaching the ages 80, 85, 90, and 95 will receive cash grants of P25,000 at each of these mentioned age milestones; then on the 100th birthday, the cash gift is P100,000, and on the 101st birthday the cash grant is P1 million.
Ordanes also said he recently filed House Bills 7487, 7488, 7489, 7490, and 7491. These five bills grant different sets of benefits or privileges to senior citizens.
HB 7487 provides for different rates of seniors discounts by age bracket. The discounts rise by increments of 5 percent for 10 years starting at age 70 but capped at 35 percent for those 90 years old and older. Ordanes said expenses increase as the seniors get older.
HB 7488, meanwhile, increases the death benefit assistance given to the family and/or relatives of a deceased senior citizen to a minimum of P25,000.
HB 7489 seeks to exempt senior citizens and persons with disabilities from payment of travel tax and terminal fees.
HB 7490 is about establishing and institutionalizing long-term care for senior citizens.
HB 7491 is for the exemption of senior citizens and persons with disabilities from the unified vehicular volume reduction program.