ILOILO CITY—The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released cash gifts to 131 centenarians from Western Visayas from February to September this year.
Doyien C. Layson, DSWD-6 (Western Visayas) focal person for centenarians, said in an interview that 24 of the beneficiaries unfortunately died before receiving their cash gifts of P100,000 each.
The money was instead released to their nearest relative.
A total of 41 recipients were from Iloilo; 26 from Capiz; 15 each from Aklan and Antique; 13 from Negros Occidental; 10 from Bacolod City; six from Guimaras; and five from Iloilo City.
Layson said they were hoping that the national government would be able to provide funds for 37 others whose complete documents only came in this year.
“They turned centenarians in previous years but they were not able to immediately comply with the required documents. It is only now that they were able to comply, so we requested for additional funds,” she said.
Layson explained it would be better for recipients to submit their documents while they are 99 years old to allow more time to check their documents to establish their being centenarians.
“In our guideline, the OSCA [Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs], the ID is the primary document. But the more documents, the better. The older the documents, the better,” she said.
The incentive is given in cash and the recipient or their relatives may use it to purchase whatever the centenarian needs, such as milk, diapers, and supplements.
The relatives are also advised to deposit the money in a bank so they have something to use in times of emergency.
For centenarians who are bedridden, it is recommended that they secure a life plan.
For this year, the oldest recipient was a 103-year-old from Dumalag, Capiz.
Since Republic Act 10868 or the Centenarians Act took effect in 2016, the DSWD-6 has extended the cash gift to 360 centenarians in the region in 2017, a total of 129 in 2019, and 131 last year.
DSWD-6 Director Ma. Evelyn B. Macapobre said in a statement that the observance of the Elderly Filipino Week (EFW) from October 1 to 7 is a reminder for the public “to heed the call to ensure the protection of the elderly.”
“Most of the abuses to elderly [citizens] are not reported because the perpetrators are the family members themselves. Let us always view things from the lens of the elderly so we are able to understand them,” she said.
The EFW celebration is provided under Proclamation 470 to highlight their significant role in nation building and in advocating for the promotion of their rights and welfare.
This year’s celebration is anchored on the theme “Mahalaga sina Lolo at Lola Ngayong Pandemya.”
Caraga seniors get cash aid
Meanwhile, the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Caraga (DSWD-13) said 155,328 indigent senior citizens in the region have benefited from the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens program during the first half of 2021.
Marko Davey Reyes, information officer of DSWD-13, told the Philippine News Agency on Tuesday that the validation of the list of indigent beneficiaries will continue for the succeeding payout.
A total of P465,984,000 pension was already released to the elderly who are entitled to P500 monthly in social pension aid.
“The distribution of the pension for the second semester is still ongoing. We have an allocation of P268,503,000 for the remaining beneficiaries of the program,” Reyes said.
DSWD-13 has a total of 171,028 beneficiaries: From Dinagat Islands, 11,494; Surigao del Norte, 33,799; Surigao del Sur, 42,329; Agusan del Norte, 39,194; and Agusan del Sur, 44,212.
Among the beneficiaries was 79-year-old Florentino Aldaya from the hinterland of Barangay Sua, Barobo in Surigao del Sur.
Aldaya said the P3,000 cash aid will help him purchase his medicines and other needs.
“Mapasalamaton ko sa balaod sa gobyerno nga tabangan ang mga seniors. Gitabangan ko nila nga mutaas pa akong kinabuhi. Natuman gyud akong pag-ampo nga matabangan ko [I am thankful to the government’s extension of aid, especially in helping the senior citizens. It helped me live a longer life. The program is an answer to my prayers],” Florentino said in the vernacular, as quoted by a DSWD-13 staff that handed him the money last month.
Image courtesy of Doyien C. Layson/DSWD-6