CENTENARIAN. General Santos City centenarian Cecilia Custodio of Barangay Dadiangas South holds the P100,000 cash given by the city government on April 13, 2023, as cash incentives for reaching 100 years old. The National Commission of Senior Citizens on Thursday (May 11, 2023) said it is ready to implement a measure granting additional benefits for Filipino centenarians once it is enacted into law. (Photo courtesy of GenSan CIO)

The National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) is preparing for the possible implementation of a new law that would grant Filipino centenarians even more benefits.

The bill aims to increase the cash gift for those who reach 101 years old from P100,000 to P1 million.

NCSC Chairperson Franklin Quijano said that the commission is ready to take on the task of implementing the measure and has been expanding its capacity by hiring more employees. He made the announcement during a Laging Handa public briefing on Thursday.

If the bill is enacted into law, it would provide much-needed support to the country’s growing population of elderly citizens.

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.

“You know, by then, we are ready. This year, pini-fill up natin iyong mga positions for the regular employees. And there are 206 items na binibigay ng DBM [Department of Budget and Management]sa atin. So kung ito lang ang trabaho na maibibigay, ita-transfer ng DSWD sa atin, kayang-kaya po (This year, we are filling up positions for the regular employees. And there are 206 items provided by the DBM 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. At pasalamat ako, naiintindihan ng publiko na bago pa lang tayo (And I am grateful that the public understands that we are just new to this),” he said.

Budgetary requirement
Quijano said the required funds for the implementation of the proposed law is estimated at PHP13 billion.

“So if the requirement is 13 billion, medyo sabi nila, makakaya (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 PHP100,000.

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 PHP25,000 each,” the bill noted.

“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)

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