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Palace finalizing rules for senior citizens law: Quijano

THE National Commission for Senior Citizens (NCSC) based in Malacañang is now finalizing the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 7432 (Senior Citizens Act) to consolidate all goals and programs.

NCSC Chairman Franklin Quijano said that his office wants to consolidate all goals and programs for senior citizens in the country for uniform processing and releasing of benefits.

Quijano said RA 7432 is giving importance to senior citizens because they were once involved in nation building, contributing their energy, talents and skills during their prime time.

Quijano is a Cebuano, but is a former councilor and mayor of Iligan City. He was also with the Office of the Presidential Affairs for Peace Process (OPAPP) under Secretary Jesus Dureza. He was an administrator of the Philippine Veterans Investment Development Corporation.

“We have a database of about 10.4 million senior citizens in the entire country. If every senior citizen has a profile, there will be no more issue that medicines were purchased by the government and expired for failure to distribute it. We remind government agencies concerned on their need of wellness and welfare,” Quijano said.

He said that they are still in the process of finalizing the IRR of RA 7432. “As NCSC chairman, I lead the making of a good organizational structure. We will put up NCSC officials in every city and municipally and require all municipalities and cities to connect to all senior citizens,” Quijano said.

Some Local Government Units (LGUs) have Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA), but some have none especially if funds are limited.

Quijano said that every government agency, national or local, is allowed to appropriate one percent of its annual budget for senior citizens.

If you look at it, several senior citizens want to be in Cebu City because of several benefits like P1,000 a month financial assistance.

The National Government has allocated annual budgets for senior citizens under the General Appropriations Act through the different agencies like Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Philhealth, Department of Agriculture (DA), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) among others.

But Quijano said the new law provides that all these funds for senior citizens in the different government agencies will be transferred to NCSC for consolidation.

As to when the transfer of funds will be done, it all depends on the willingness of the concerned agencies. ELIAS O. BAQUERO