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Go urges DSWD to fast track grant of benefits to centenarians.

By Mario Casayuran

Senator Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go on Wednesday called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other concerned agencies to fast track the provision of benefits for centenarians as provided by law.

He called on these agencies to prioritize the welfare of the elderly population especially at this time of health crisis caused by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the country. Go is the chairman of the Senate Health and Demography Committee.

"Nanawagan ako sa DSWD na bilisan natin ang pag-facilitate at pag-process ng mga benefits ng ating mga centenarians and, in general, sa mga elderly. Sila ang isa sa mga most vulnerable sectors ng ating lipunan. Dapat silang alagaan sa panahon ngayon,'' he said. (I am calling on the DSWD to hasten the facilitation and the processing of the benefits of our centenarians and, in general, for the elderly. They are the most vulnerable sector of society. They should be taken care of at this critical time.)

"'Yung mga nag-100 years old na, huwag na dapat pahirapan at pag-antayin pa para makakuha ng benepisyong nakasaad naman sa batas tulad ng P100,000 mula sa gobyerno,'' he said. (Those who are already 100 years old, they should not be made to wait in order to get the benefit provided under the law such as the P100,000 cash gift from the government.)

He is referring to the Centenarians Act of 2016 indicating that a Filipino turning 100 years old will receive a cash gift from the government.

"Malaki ang maitutulong ng benepisyong ibibigay natin para sa kanilang pang-araw araw na gastusin, lalong lalo na sa panahon ngayon ng COVID-19. Higit sa lahat, they deserve this,'' he said. (This benefit is a big help in their daily expenses, especially at this time of COVID-19. More importantly, they deserve this.)

Go's appeal came after a report reached his office saying that a certain Aurea Corpuz from Bisocol in Alaminos, Pangasinan has been waiting for her cash gift for almost a year after celebrating her 100th birthday last August 25, 2019.

He reached out to DSWD regarding Corpuz's case, resulting in the department acting on the matter promptly. According to the DSWD, Corpuz is expected to receive her cash gift within the week.

"Ang payo ko lang sa DSWD, dapat ay bilisan po natin ang pagbigay ng ganyang benepisyo na napakalaking tulong sa mga nangangailangan lalo na sa panahon ngayon. Nasa batas naman iyan, dapat maimplementa 'yan ng maayos,'' he said. (I told the DSWD to hasten the distribution of such benefit which is a big help for those who are in need especially at this time. It is in the law that this shall be implemented properly).

"Iyan rin naman ang direktiba ng Pangulo na huwag patagalin ang pagbibigay ng serbisyo sa tao,'' he added. (That is also the directive of the President not to delay the provision of services to the people.)

According to the Centenarians Act of 2016, Republic Act (RA) 10868, Filipinos who will reach the age of 100 years will receive a letter of felicitation from the President of the Philippines congratulating the centenarian and a cash gift in the amount of P100,000.

As per DSWD's latest report, P28.9 million worth of centenarian cash gifts have already been given to 289 Filipinos who have reached the age of 100 years and above.

The DSWD also assured that there is a house-to-house delivery of the incentives amid the health crisis.

According to Go, there is still room for improvement saying the DSWD should provide these rewards to as many centenarian Filipinos immediately and with no delay.

"Dapat agarang makakakuha ang mas maraming mga lolo at lola natin na nagkakaedad 100 na taon o mahigit pa ng cash gift at iba pang benepisyo na naaayon sa batas. Gawing mas maayos, mabilis, at maginhawa ang proseso bilang pagmamalasakit sa ating mga nakakatanda,'' he explained. (Our elders who have reached 100 years old should immediately receive their cash gifts and other benefits in accordance with the law. Make the process of distribution of the benefits for the elderly proper, fast, and hassle-free.)

"Ang mga benefits at privileges na ibibigay ng gobyerno para sa mga centenarians at iba pang matatanda ay hindi lamang dahil nakarating sila sa ganitong yugto ng buhay nila. Nais po nating maalagaan sila upang mabuhay pa ng mas matagal," he added. (The benefits and privileges to be given by the government for the centenarians and other elderly are not because they have reached this stage of their lives. We want to take care of them so they can live longer.)

Even before he became a senator, Go said he has been pushing for the government to provide utmost care, additional services, and benefits for senior citizens.

Go supported the creation of the National Senior Citizens Commission that is now mandated to implement laws, policies, and programs for senior citizens, tackle all issues concerning the welfare of the vulnerable community, and establish programs that will protect their rights and enhance their welfare.

"Ang mga senior citizens dapat bigyan natin ng halaga, pagmamahal, at kalinga. Malungkot isipin na marami sa matanda sa Pilipinas ay nahihirapang matugunan ang kanilang pangangailangan lalo na ngayon sa panahon ng krisis,'' he said. (The senior citizens deserve to be given importance, love, and care. It is sad that there are seniors in the Philippines who hardly get their needs especially now that there is a crisis.)

A few months ago, Go also urged the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure the availability of medicines and other supplements needed by the elderly amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

He also made sure that discounts and other benefits in accordance with the law are implemented.

As a result of Go's earlier appeal, the DOH amended its policy through Administrative Order (AO) 2012-0007-A, which provides guidelines granting a 20 percent discount to senior citizens on other health-related goods.

Under the latest administrative order, vitamins and minerals supplements which are prescribed by a physician for prevention and treatment of diseases, illness, or injury will be entitled to a 20 percent discount for senior citizens.

The order is in compliance with Republic Act No. 9994, the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, which provides for discount privileges for Filipino senior citizens.

"Isa sa mga prayoridad namin ni Pangulong Duterte ay mapangalagaan ang kapakanan at kalusugan ng mga senior citizens. Ibigay dapat kaagad ang mga benepisyo na para sa kanila lalong lalo na sa panahon ng health crisis tulad ng COVID-19 outbreak na ating nararanasan ngayon,'' Go said. (One of my and President Duterte's priorities is to protect the welfare and health of the senior citizens. The benefits intended for them should be delivered without delay especially at this time of a health crisis such as the COVID-19 outbreak that we are experiencing now.)

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Sen. Bong Go (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
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Title Annotation:National; Christopher Lawrence Go, Department of Social Welfare and Development
Author:Casayuran, Mario
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jun 24, 2020
Words:1152
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