MANILA—The National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) has expressed its readiness to implement a measure granting additional benefits for Filipino centenarians once it is enacted into law.
In a Laging Handa public briefing on Thursday, NCSC Chairperson Franklin Quijano said the commission has been beefing up its capacity by hiring more employees in the event that the bill increasing the cash gift for Filipino centenarians who reach 101 years old from P100,000 to P1 million becomes a law.
House Bill (HB) No. 7535, which was approved on the third and final reading on Monday, seeks to mandate the NCSC to distribute the centenarian cash gifts.
Currently, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is in charge of the distribution of cash gift to centenarians as mandated by Republic Act (RA) No. 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016.
“Yeah. You know, by then, we are ready. This year, we are still trying to fill up positions for the regular employees. And there are 206 items provided by the Department of Budget and Management to us. So, if this is the task that will be transferred from the DSWD to us, then we could manage it,” Quijano said.
Quijano said the NCSC is also preparing to take the lead in distributing the social pension for senior citizens.
“So a lot of things are actually being prepared by NCSC. And I am grateful that the public understands that we are just new in this job doing our mandate but we are more than capable,” he said.
Quijano said the required funds for the implementation of the proposed law is estimated at P13 billion.
“So if the requirement is P13 billion, they said it is doable. So it’s really a choice that is going to be made by this government,” he said.
Under the House bill, all Filipinos who reach the age of 100 years old, whether residing in the Philippines or abroad, shall be honored with a letter of felicitation from the President of the Philippines and a “centenarian gift” in the amount of P100,000.
Furthermore, all Filipinos who reach the age of 80, 85, 90 and 95 years old shall also receive a letter of felicitation from the President “and a cash gift of P25,000 each,” the bill said.
“With this legislation, the House of Representatives would like to honor our countrymen for their years of service to the country and for their discipline in ensuring that they live a long, healthy and fruitful life,” Speaker Martin Romualdez said.
“Of course, we also want our octogenarians and nonagenarians to enjoy this benefit while they still can without having to wait until 101 years old so we also provided a cash gift for them,” he added. PNA
Image credits: Gensan CIO