1% of gov’t budgets eyed for elderly

1% of gov’t budgets eyed for elderly

A CONGRESSMAN has filed a bill that would require national government agencies in the Philippines to allocate 1% of their respective budgets for neglected senior citizens programs.

House Bill No. 9837 seeks to amend Republic Act No. 9994, the Expanded Senior Citizens Act.

“Due to lack of funding, implementation of programs for our senior citizens and enactment of supplementary measures often take a standstill,” Bulacan Rep. Salvador A. Pleyto said in the bill’s explanatory note.

The proposed law would “ensure that such programs for senior citizens will have adequate funding and will be implemented efficiently,” Mr. Pleyto, who co-chairs the House Senior Citizens Committee, added.

“The senior citizens sector deserves to be given all the needed assistance the government could provide to remain as active members of the community,” he added.

The National Commission of Senior Citizens has a P79.9-billion budget for this year. The government also allocated P49.89 billion to fund the health insurance of around 8.5 million poor senior citizens.

The number of senior citizens — Filipinos aged 60 and above — have more than doubled to 9.2 million in 2020 from 20 years ago, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Last week, the House Ways and Means and Health committees urged the Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI) and of Agriculture (DA) to increase the discount on basic goods for senior citizens to P125 from the current P65 a week.

Advocates for senior citizens also asked congressmen to include specific provisions on discounts for senior citizens purchasing supplements and paying the toll along different expressways. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz