De Lima sponsors bill granting early cash gifts for senior citizens aged 80, 90


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has sought for the Senate’s immediate approval of a measure expanding the law on granting cash incentives to centenarians by providing additional gifts to those who reach 80 and 90 years old.

De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said the additional cash gifts to senior citizens who reach 80 and 90 would be given PhP10,000 separate from the PhP100,000 when they reach 100 years old.

“We hope that by expanding the coverage of this law, we are able to concretely honor our elderly for their meaningful contributions and their hard-fought sacrifices to their community and the Philippine society during their years of vigor,” she said.

Last Feb. 26, De Lima sponsored the measure, logged as Senate Bill (SB) 1319, which seeks to provide additional cash gifts of PhP10,000 to senior citizens who reach the age of 80 and 90.  Her sponsorship speech was read by Sen. Risa Hontiveros.

The proposed additional cash reward is, however, separate from the mandatory cash gift of PhP100,000 that will be given to senior citizens when they reach 100 years old under Republic Act (RA) 10868, also known as the Centenarians Act of 2016.

“It is a privilege to age and celebrate the gift of life that God gave us. But as we reach old age, the decline of the senior citizens’ productive capacity exposes this sector to various vulnerabilities, and the government must be there to afford them the support they need together with their families” De Lima pointed out.

According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the government has consistently failed to reach the target of awarding 1,000 centenarians yearly as most Filipino senior citizens do not reach this age.

Based on the 2018 World Health Organization estimates, the average person residing in the Philippines has a lifespan of 69.3 years which is three years shorter than the global average of age 72.

“Even more unfortunately, many, if not most, of our centenarians are already too old, sickly, and impaired to properly enjoy the blessings of the Centenarian Law,” the lady Senator from Bicol noted.

Apart from De Lima, SB 1319 was also authored by Sens. Aquilino Pimentel III, Ramon Revilla Jr., and Juan Miguel Zubiri. 

De Lima also principally sponsored and co-authored the Senior Citizen Bill in the Senate which has been enacted into law last year.

Now logged as RA 11350, the Senior Citizen Act creates the National Commission of Senior Citizens dedicated solely in handling the concerns of senior citizens and in ensuring that the DSWD create policies and oversight programs for the elderly. (30)/JB/FJM

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