Marcos signs Expanded Centenarian, Tatak Pinoy laws

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Marcos signs Expanded Centenarian, Tatak Pinoy laws
President Marcos joins senators, led by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, and congressmen, led by Speaker Martin Romualdez, following the signing of the Tatak Pinoy Act and the Expanded Centenarians Act at Malacañang yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines — Responding to clamor to extend benefits to Filipino octogenarians and nonagenarians, President Marcos signed yesterday a law providing P10,000 cash gift to citizens who reach 80, 85, 90 and 95 years old.

Marcos said Republic Act 11982 or “An Act Granting benefits to Filipino Octogenarians and Nonagenarians” is a homage and an expression of gratitude to the Filipino elderly.

“To our active 80-somethings and lively 90-somethings, the expanded Centenarians Act confers upon you the thanks of a grateful nation that you have made strong and stable through your labors,” Marcos said in his speech during the ceremonial signing of the law at Malacañang.

RA 11982 amended RA 10868 or the “Centenarians Act of 2016,” which grants P100,000 cash gift to those who reach 100.

“The expansion of the coverage of the Centenarians Act is a homage to the Filipino trait of compassion and in our culture, none are showered with more kind and loving care than our elderly,” the President said.

Under the new law, Filipinos, upon reaching the age of 80, will receive a cash gift of P10,000 and every five years thereafter upon reaching the ages of 85, 90 and 95.

“We do, after all, stand on the shoulders of these giants,” Marcos said.

Apart from the financial incentive, the Chief Executive also pushed for senior citizen-friendly infrastructure in the country.

“They deserve more than cash in an envelope. What they should get is a support infrastructure that every society owes to its greying population,” he said.

Based on 2020 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, there are 9,242,121 senior citizens or those aged 60 and above nationwide.

“But as this demographic enlarges, the societal facilities that attend to them should be expanded as well,” the 66-year-old Marcos said.

“When we think of the future, it is not just about, as Hubert Humphrey once said, ‘those who are in the dawn of life, our children,’ but also ‘those in the twilight of life, our elderly.’ ”

As a senior citizen himself, Marcos joked that he and the proponents of the law might be suspected of having passed the bill for themselves.

Among those present during the signing of the expanded Centenarian Law were Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Speaker Martin Romualdez, senators, including the President’s sister, Sen. Imee Marcos, members of the House of Representatives and Cabinet secretaries.

As the new law is not covered by the 2024 national budget, House committee on appropriations chair and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co proposed the use of savings or unprogrammed funds for the cash gifts.

“But the national budget is not inflexible. Savings can be tapped, but with proper authorization from DBM. The unprogrammed funds can also be a funding source, provided the rules on these funds are followed, so that DBM can properly authorize access to the unprogrammed funds,” Co said, referring to the Department of Budget and Management.

Senior Citizens party-list Rep. Rodolfo Ordanes said the funds could also be sourced from the savings of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“Now that the amendments to the Centenarian’s Act are approved, the Senior Citizens party-list shifts its focus to its funding and implementation, including the implementing rules and regulations to make sure the new law is faithfully and effectively executed,” Ordanes said, noting a need to clarify if the new law also applies to those who turned 80, 85, 90 and 95 before the law took effect. — Sheila Crisostomo

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