Senior citizens eye Congress representation
Cebu City (5 October) -- The Seniors Citizens organization of the country plans to lobby for a representation of their sector in Congress.
Regional Federation of Senior Citizens Association of the Philippines head Felix Abella bared this in yesterday’s Kapihan sa PIA in celebration for October 1-7 as “National Elderly Filipino Week.”
With this year’s theme dubbed as “Nakakatanda: Kaagapay sa Pagkakaisa at Kapayapaan,” Abella encouraged all senior citizens nationwide to form and strengthen their organization in their respective locality and unify for a cause to be duly represented and heard in congress.
He explained that a representation of the organization in the congressional house would hasten implementation of programs and projects for the elderly.
“The very common problem we encounter so far is the discount issue for medicines (for treatment or maintenance) from pharmacies. There doesn’t seem much pharmacies who follow the law even if the BFAD would say ‘all drugstores nationwide were given and oriented on such’,” said Abella.
Abella explained that the implementation aspect of most laws in the country is always a problem. “Government would always ‘wait’ until complaints are made or filed by us before there’s action, but it involves much time and effort from us, and we are elderly you know,” he stressed.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 7 Coordinator for the Elderly Shalane Lucero explained that laws can only be implemented better if there is a local ordinance on it in our respective locality.
“That’s why I strongly encourage all senior citizens to fight for their rights and privileges and be vigilant to move their local government leaders to give importance to the elderly sector. And for fast action to their immediate concerns,” added Lucero.
DSWD is currently conducting an intensive survey on the elderly to get a complete profile and data of their percentage of the Philippine population to help law makers and government leaders to identify and cater to the needs of our senior citizens.
Meanwhile, DTI has included in their accreditation for Certified Establishment Program (DTI-CEP) recognizing establishments who would comply with certain criteria which includes a creation of a Special Lane for the Elderly.
PhilHealth on the other hand, encourages all GSIS and SSS retirees and pensioners to avail of the agency’s Non-Paying Program for hospitalization benefits and discounts. Senior citizen who are non-retirees and pensioners can still qualify and avail provided they are declared by their children as ‘senior citizen dependents.’
While BIR is encouraging those who are benefactors or taking senior citizens or elderly in their personal care to avail of the P25 thousand annual tax exemption given by the government. BIR would require proof of this and interested individuals may visit their respective revenue district office to declare the elderly as dependent.
Earning senior citizens with P60 thousand and below are still exempted in filing an annual income tax, while those above P60 thousand have to file. (PIA/gfg) [top]