Senator Win Gatchalian wants eased requirements and improved efficiency in the distribution of benefits to be awarded to centenarians.
In a public hearing on the proposed amendments to the Centenarians Act of 2016 (Republic Act No. 10868), Gatchalian shared the experience of a constituent who applied for the P100,000 cash gift in 2021. The law awards a letter of felicitation from the President and a P100,000 cash gift to Filipinos who reach the age of 100. The constituent, however, is yet to receive the cash gift and is being required to submit school records.
“Based on the information that I received from a constituent, there are also issues on the distribution of cash gifts. Nagulat ako na isa sa mga requirements ay school records. Paano naman makukuha pa ng 100-year old ang school records niya? Kung hindi nasunog ay baka nabaha na,” said Gatchalian.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) vowed to look into the incident and maintained that the only requirements for the centenarians are a birth certificate or affidavit from the centenarian. An affidavit from the beneficiary’s eldest child can also be accepted.
“We also need to resolve distribution problems both in terms of efficiency and practicality because we are talking about people who have reached 100 years old. Marami sa kanila baka bedridden na rin at hindi na masyadong makagalaw-galaw. May mga requirements na hindi na praktikal tulad ng school records,” added Gatchalian, author of Senate Bill No. 824 which seeks to expand the coverage of the Centenarians Act of 2016.
Gatchalian’s proposed measure seeks to award a cash gift of P10,000 to Filipinos who reach the age of 80, and another P10,000 when they reach 90 years old.
The senator’s proposal also seeks to adjust these amounts annually for inflation. Under his proposed measure, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will adjust these amounts in consultation with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) based on the average annual inflation in the preceding three years.
Out of 2,465 centenarians, the DSWD was able to serve 1,692 centenarians last year. The funding for 755 more has been included in the 2023 national budget. The amount of P254.1 million was allotted this year for the implementation of the Centenarians’ Act of 2016.