The Department of Social Welfare and Development is seeking funds for cash gifts for centenarians.
DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo said around 600 centenarians are waiting to receive the P100,000 cash incentive mandated by law.
"Ang kagawaran ay sumulat na sa Office of the President, dahil kulang ang pondo, nasabi na rin natin ‘yan sa budget hearing sa Kongreso para maisama sa 2023 budget. Medyo marami tayong nakapila, almost 600 centenarians,” he said during the Laging Handa briefing on Monday.
The number of senior citizens in the Philippines is projected to increase to 2 per 10 Filipinos in 15 years, from the current ratio of 1 elderly individual per 10 Filipinos, according to National Commission of Senior Citizens Chairman Franklin Quijano.
"'Pag hindi tayo naghanda, at hindi natin binibigyang pansin ang senior citizens, then not only will our government resources be drained and heavily burdened by the number of seniors… One of the programs we are looking at is really hikayatan ang lahat ng pamilya na magkaroon ng inter-generational dialogue nang sa ganoon ma-prepare natin ang mga pamilya, so that when the time comes, our families will be ready, supportive, loving to the senior citizens,” he said.
The NCSC added it is advocating “productive aging” among senior citizens, so that they can continue to contribute to nation building. Part of this effort is to ensure they grow old healthy - a focus of the ongoing elderly Filipino week celebration.
"Kailangan nating gamitin ang Universal Health Care lalong-lalo na po sa senior citizens. Kailangan ang senior citizens ay magkaroon ng health profile na maganda. Para ang primary health care, ‘yung mga preventive medicine, na mai-prepare natin ang seniors as they grow old. Kung ano ang wastong pagkain, kung ano ang tamang exercise, etc. ay dapat nating gawin. The elderly week celebration becomes a focus activity in order to give emphasis to the need of country to help and support the senior citizens. The seniors also would like to re-affirm their commitment to helping this country,” Quijano said.
"Isang advocacy natin is baka pwedeng lahat ng seniors magkaroon ng annual, medical, optical and dental examination, nang sa ganoon we will able to address the issues, and for a longer life of senior citizens,” he added.
Quijano said it will also help if data on senior citizens’ health and skill sets will be available.
"May datos tayong initial, but gusto pa natin ipalalim ang datos, dahil kailangan natin malaman ang health profile ng bawat senior citizen, nang sa gayon makatulong ang pamahalaan sa kanilang programs, pati rin ‘yung skill set profile nang sa gayon mahikayat natin ang senior citizens na tumulong sa ating nation building,” he said.
The NCSC, meanwhile, expressed support for Senate Bill 671, which seeks to educate senior citizens, their family and caregivers on identifying and preventing fraudulent activities, targeting the elderly.