EDITORIAL - Respect seniors beyond the law's letter

The Freeman

There is a growing number of establishments, mostly restaurants and fastfood chains, who unilaterally comply with the senior citizen law by providing the mandated 20 percent discount even if a senior citizen has no senior citizen ID issued by an LGU's office of senior citizens affairs provided he or she can present a valid ID showing his or her birth date.

There should be more of these clearly civic-minded establishments. The senior citizen law was created to benefit senior citizens as they are, so the benefits to be derived therefrom should not be held subject or hostage to a mere senior citizen ID issued by an LGU, even if it is specifically stated so in the law itself. For while the law's language contains certain specificities, its intent is far more overwhelming and self-evident.

The beneficiary of the law is the senior citizen. Seniority is subjective only at its onset, thus the validity of the need for documentary evidence. But seniority is eventually self-evident. A senior in his 80s for instance will be self-evident by his looks, and no documentary evidence to the contrary can easily tell and convince anyone otherwise.

There are a number of reasons why some senior citizens do not have the required senior citizens IDs. Among the more serious of these is that there is a hint of political stigma attached to the acquisition and possession of one. Senior citizens represent a considerable voting bloc and there is a reason other than to establish residency why one of the requirements for a senior citizen to be issued an ID is a voter certification.

There is another ugly element of politization on the matter of senior citizens being provided cash assistance by LGUs. Even if a person is, by mere physical appearance, is evidently a senior, he or she cannot be given cash assistance if he has no senior citizen's ID. And he or she cannot be issued a senior citizen's ID if he or she cannot produce a voter certification.

Now here is the problem -- what if but most probably because of physical inability a senior can no longer or has no longer voted for some time and therefore can no longer be issued the voter certification he or she needs to acquire a senior citizen ID, does that mean he or she no longer is qualified to receive any cash assistance?

The answer to that is, of course, yes -- he or she will no longer be eligible for cash assistance. The situation therefore has taken on the form of -- if you can no longer vote, you can no longer enjoy cash aid. That is the bad side of the senior citizen law brought about by its politization. That is why it is better if civic-mindedness simply takes over and allow common sense to determine what is self-evident. If a senior looks senior, as he obviously must, then he must be a senior.

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