Monday, 02 April 2012 11:47
The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a measure providing incentives to all Filipino centenarians and declaring every 25th day of September as "National Respect for Centenarians Day."
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, principal author of House Bill 834, said centenarians will be granted cash gift in the amount of P100,000 and a letter of felicitation congratulating every Filipino residing in the Philippines or abroad on his or her 100th birthday to be awarded by the President of the Philippines.
The bill seeks to amend Section 4 of Republic Act 7432, otherwise known as "An Act To Maximize The Contribution Of Senior Citizens To Nation Building, Grant Benefits And Special Privileges And For Other Purposes," as amended by R.A. 9247 or the "Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003," and further amended by R.A. 9994, also known as the "Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010."
Lagman said a major indicator of the level of a nation's human development is life expectancy at birth. Given the level of the country's development today, the average Filipino can expect to live to only 71 years.
"Living to be a centenarian, or three decades past the life expectancy is therefore an achievement and a distinction worthy of emulation and public recognition," he said.
Lagman said the pursuit of living to be 100 demands immense self-discipline, citing studies which showed that while genetics play a role in longevity, the dominant factor in living long is lifestyle.
Under the bill to be known as the "Centenarians Act of 2012," all centenarians are granted 50 percent discount and exemption from the value-added tax (VAT) on the sale of goods and services from all establishments, for the exclusive use and enjoyment or availment of senior citizens.
In addition to the recognition and cash gift to be provided by the President, centenarians shall also be awarded a plaque of recognition and a cash incentive by their respective city or municipal governments in appropriate ceremonies during the celebration of the "National Respect for Centenarians Day." The amount of the cash incentive shall be determined by the concerned local government unit.
The measure provides posthumous plaques of recognition in honor of deceased centenarians to be presented to the nearest surviving relative of each centenarian or his/her representative.
A national committee shall be organized composed of the Executive Secretary as chairperson and the respective secretaries of the Departments of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Health and the executive director of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas as members to promulgate the necessary guidelines.
"Verily, our centenarians deserve to be honored and respected. As Adler said, centenarians are our role models for living long and aging well. They are the role models for the future of aging," Lagman said.
He said the government can and should provide psychological and pecuniary incentives to its centenarians, sterling citizens who have led exemplary long lives which every Filipino must be inspired by and aspire for.
Co-authors of the measure are Reps. Rosenda Ann Ocampo (Manila), Baby Aline Vargas-Alfonso (Cagayan), Rogelio Espina (Biliran), Godofredo Arquiza and David Kho (Senior Citizens Party-list), Reena Concepcion Obillo (Una Ang Pamilya Party-list), Teodorico Haresco (Ang Kasangga Party-list), Maximo Rodriguez (Abante Mindanao Party-list), and Roman Romulo (Pasig City).
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