Ensure seniors’ future
(The Philippine Star) - February 13, 2019 - 12:00am

The Philippine STAR published on Feb. 4, 2019, the approval of the bill seeking to create the National Commission on Senior Citizens, filed in the House of Representatives by Seniors Party-List Rep. Francisco Datol, Jr and in the Senate by Senate President  Tito Sotto III.

The approval of this bill into law, is eagerly awaited by the seniors sector, because, once approved, the National Commission on Senior Citizens will be the central national government entity that will be responsible for the planning of all programs for the seniors and it will be responsible for the implementation of all programs for the benefit of seniors.

It will also facilitate the seniors’ work for their benefit because the seniors sector will be dealing mostly with the National Commission on Senior Citizens, unlike at present, where seniors groups have to deal with many government offices, like the Department of Social Welfare and Development,  Department of Interior and Local Governments, Department of Health and the Department of Trade and Industry. With the formation of the National Commission on Senior Citizens, the senior groups will deal only with the Commission and the latter will deal with the other government offices, for and on behalf of the seniors sector.

The other benefit, is that the planning of programs and welfare projects will be done by seniors themselves, who know what they need better than any other groups; and know furthermore how to achieve the programs by reason of the their experience of many years working for themselves. They know better than others.

The Commission will be composed of seniors who have experienced working for the welfare of seniors, and at least two commissioners must be female, thereby ensuring care also for women’s welfare. If lawmakers are now considering legislation for the young, even attempting to lower the age for offenses responsibility minus imprisonment, lawmakers and the executive department must be more concerned with the seniors, who in spite of their elder status can still contribute a lot to the people, including disciplining the young to minimize juvenile delinquency.

The Commission is expected also to minimize politics in the administration of welfare programs for seniors. It has been revealed during hearings and I heard it, that some beneficiaries of welfare programs for seniors have been tainted with political color and consideration.

Rep. Datol himself revealed that he received many complaints regarding favoritism and partisanship in the implementation of programs. That is why he really rallied many Congressmen to support his bill and he succeeded in convincing 171 Representatives to co-author his bill.

He just kept reminding Congress Members that “sila ay tatanda rin” and they signed as co-authors.

All that is needed now  is the signature of  the most powerful senior citizen – President Duterte, to ensure the seniors’ future. – Atty. Mafeo R. Vibal, vice president – external affairs and legislative liaison officer, Philippine Association of Retired Persons and author of the book, How Bills Become Philippine Laws.

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