NOT so good news for centenarians.
While the past administration approved the Centenarian Law, which will grant Filipinos aged 100 and up cash and other benefits, the current government admitted that there is no fund for the purpose.
During the budget deliberation, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo informed the House committee on appropriations that there is no allocation for the centenarians both in 2016 and in 2017.
Taguiwalo said even the administration of President Benigno Aquino did not allocate money to be given to the centenarians even though the measure was signed into law by Aquino.
The main author of the bill, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, asked DSWD why there is no allocation listed in its budget for 2017.
The lady secretary said those who prepared the budget proposal may have missed this item and that the only solution is to request it from the Department of Budget and Management.
“We have no savings so far, so wala kaming makukuha. We will write to Secretary Diokno to ask him where we could get this budget for 2017,” Taguiwalo told members of committee.
As for 2016, Taguiwalo proposed a supplemental budget to be approved by Congress.
A few days before President Aquino stepped down from office, he signed Republic Act 10868, which is the same measure he vetoed in 2013.
Under the new law, Filipinos aged 100 and up will get one-time cash incentives of P100,000 and additional benefits, discounts and privileges from the government and business corporations.
Centenarians will also receive a letter of felicitation from the President of the Philippines, aside from the cash gift. They will also be awarded with a plaque of recognition and additional cash gift from their respective city or municipal governments during the National Respect for Centenarians Day, which is set on September 25 of every year.
According to Taguiwalo there are 2,992 centenarians nationwide and the agency needs P299.2 million for them. The proposed budget of DSWD for next year is P129 billion.
Lagman suggested to the DSWD to ask President Rodrigo Duterte to get the budget for the centenarians from his contingency funds.