No more ‘palakasan’

October 09, 2018
Abby Binay
Abby Binay

SENIOR citizens in Makati City, the country’s premier business center, lauded the initiative of Mayor Abigail ‘Abby’ Binay-Campos, to “streamline” the guidelines in the release of their bi-annual cash gifts, saying the previous system was “prone to abuse and misuse.”

At a dialog held yesterday between the mayor and the representatives for the city’s 23 barangay councils of senior citizens (BCSC), the group agreed the new system was “working just fine.”

The group also accepted Mayor Abby’s explanation that the conduct of home visits for recipients is done “in the spirit of fairness.”

“We want to get rid of the ‘palakasan’ system, the mayor stressed, adding, “Our objective was to protect both the distributor and the receiver.”

The mayor said her administration has, in fact, been very accommodating of the needs and requests of the elderly.

Last June 2017, the Makati Health Development Council approved the extension of the validity period of the Yellow Card pushed by Mayor Abby to spare them the burden of having to renew annually.

Under the new policy, lifetime membership is granted to senior citizens below 80 years old who can present updated tax declarations, and to those 80 and above who have been Yellow Card holders for the past six years.

For those not qualified in the said criteria, they may apply for three-year validity which requires them to be registered voters of Makati and actual residents.

In fact, she added, the city government granted the request of Blu Card members for an option to receive a check, instead of the usual cash for the said incentive. Even though the processing of checks was tedious and required more paperwork, the city government accommodated said request.

“Rest assured that we will always have the best interests of our seniors at heart,” she said.

The barangay councils represented at the dialog included East Rembo, Poblacion, Dasmariñas Village, Comembo, Rizal, Pitogo, Guadalupe Viejo, Guadalupe Nuevo, South Cembo, Pio del Pilar, Sta. Cruz, Pinagkaisahan;

Pembo, Bel-Air, San Lorenzo, Olympia, Magallanes, Palanan, San Isidro, Southside, Northside, Tejeros and Kasilawan.

At present, the senior citizens of Makati under the BLU Card program are entitled to cash gifts ranging from P3,000 to P5,000 a year, based on age brackets. Since 2012, 51 centenarians have been awarded with P100,000 cash gift. Of these, 26 were recognized during the current administration.

Under the free medicines program covered by the Yellow Card, senior citizens are provided maintenance medicines for various common ailments for free. Those aged 70 and older and bedridden elderly have their monthly supply of medicines delivered right to their homes.

Moreover, they are exempted from the city’s number coding scheme, and upon their death, their beneficiaries are entitled to P3,000 burial assistance.

BCSC chair of Brgy. Pinagkaisahan, Fely Molina expressed her satisfaction with the current set-up. “Sa 11 years kong naging senior citizen, napaka-organized ngayon ng pagbibigay ng cash gift ng Blu Card… Talagang 101 percent okay,” she said.