Yes, lolo and lola, if Congress approves this bill and the President signs it into law, you become an instant millionaire if you manage to live to a ripe old age of 101 years old.
To show respect and gratitude for the elderly, the House Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday approved a substitute bill granting P1 million to Filipinos who can reach the ripe age of 101 years old.
The committee approved with amendments the substitute bill, which consolidated 29 proposals earlier filed in the lower chamber.
The bill seeks to amend Republic Act 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016. The law said Filipinos who reach the age of 100 years old whether residing in the Philippines or abroad are entitled to a cash reward of P100,000.
Under the proposed measure, 101 years old citizens will receive P1 million. The P100,000 for 100 years old will remain under the proposal.
The bill also seeks to grant P25,000 cash incentives to all Filipinos who can reach 80 to 99 years old.
Earlier, Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza, one of the principal authors of the bill, said the proposal will give the families of senior citizens the means to continue taking care of their beloved lolos and lolas, as well as to strengthen the traditional family values of caring for the elderly.
“Where in other cultures, senior citizens are sent off to nursing homes instead of being cared for by their own families, we take care of our senior family members and give them the respect, love and attention they deserve,” Atienza said.
He said Filipino senior citizens are remarkable for their industry, as well as their resilience in the face of adversity. Many of them continue to contribute to their family and community even in their old age, he said.
“We have a lot of centenarians who, in their advanced years, should be given the importance they rightfully deserve,” Atienza said.
Ako Bisaya Party-list Rep. Sonny Lagon, also an author of the bill, said the proposal seeks to provide old citizens the same financial benefits being given to centenarians under Republic Act 10868.
“Our intention is to make the cash gift more accessible to more Filipinos and enable them to enjoy it during the twilight years of their lives where medicines and other necessities are more urgent,” said Lagon.
He also cited a World Health Organization (WHO) study in 2018 that said the average life expectancy of Filipinos is 69.3 years old.
Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Defensor of Anakalusugan said a total of 7,322 Filipinos who have reached the age of 100 years old have already received their one-time P100,000 cash award from the national government since the passage of the Centenarians Law of 2016.
“In the 2022 national budget, we have provided another P135.8 million in new appropriations to pay for the P100,000 cash bonus of 1,358 Filipinos who are expected to turn 100 years old next year,” he said.
Defensor said the P135.8 million is lodged in the budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the agency mandated to distribute the cash grant.
Image courtesy of Kabankalan City PIO