Presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao pressed the need to grant added cash incentives for centenarians and senior citizens.
He made the proposal after meeting a 101-year-old Aeta grandfather at the Katutubo Village in Porac, Pampanga on Tuesday.
"Lolo Jungle" Serrano has six children, and 20 grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Pacquiao urged the Senate leadership to pass its version of the proposed amendments to Republic Act No. 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016 that will grant Filipinos who reach 101 years old a cash incentive of P1 million.
“I hope Senate will have time to either fasttrack final reading approval of the bill or simply adopt the House version when session resumes in May,” he said.
At the same time, Pacquiao called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development to swiftly review applications for availment of the P100,000 cash benefit for centenarians under RA 10868.
“Sana bigyan ng masusing pagtuon ang mga kaso na katulad ng kay Lolo Jungle. Malaking bagay para sa katulad niya ang cash incentive para sa kanilang medical needs and maintenance medicines,” said Pacquiao.
“Mabuti na lang si Lolo Jungle ay walang karamdaman. Ngunit bihira sa mga Pilipinong tulad niya ang may ganitong pangangatawan. Gayunpaman, dapat ibigay sa kanya ang insentibo para lamang ma-enjoy niya ang tulong ng pamahalaan habang naririto pa siya sa mundo.”
Approved on third reading in the House of Representatives, the said bill also provided for the release by government of P25,000 to a senior citizen when he reaches the age of 80, 85, 90 and 95.
Lolo Jungle told Pacquiao that he has yet to receive RA 10868 benefits because his case is still under verification.
Like many members of cultural minorities, Lolo Jungle’s birth records could not be confirmed from civil registry records.
Pacquiao said he wanted to give Serrano his own money but he must abide by election laws which prohibit candidates from distributing money to voters.
Following a press briefing where Serrano approached the senator, Pacquiao immediately directed a senior staff member to follow up the centenarian’s case with the DSWD, saying that this assignment should be given priority attention.
“Nakikiusap ako sa DSWD na kung maari ay luwagan ang pag-assess sa mga kaso ng ating centenarians na nais makaranas ng tulong ng pamahalaan. Doble po ang dinaranas ng marami sa ating mga lolo at lola na wala man lang maipambili ng gamot para sa kanilang mga karamdaman,” said Pacquiao.
“I was very happy with the time spent with thousands of our IP’s from Aeta communities in Pampanga. Malaking nabawas sa kasiyahang ito nang marinig ko ang problema ni Lolo Jungle,” he told members of his campaign staff.
FROM THE ARCHIVES