A privilege for senior citizen(s)

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By Ver F. Pacete

As I See It

Thursday, May 8, 2014


I AM a senior citizen. I am 62 years old already. Last Saturday was a wonderful Saturday for me. There were no tourists booked for a Saturday accommodation in our office. I have no assignment from my LCE and I do not have personal commitments for my friends.

My day started with a sunny morning and I woke up on the right side of the bed. My wife prepared a hearty breakfast, fried rice with “kalkaghipon” coupled with grilled tuna. In front of me was a slice of avocado served with lemon grass cooler. Perfect! I made my IT for the day starting from my expected time of departure from the house. When everything was set, I kissed my wife goodbye (for the fantastic breakfast and for feeding our three puppies… Posh, Hosh and Quail).

“I would like to award myself.” The massage clinic thing was heavenly without the angels. It’s fun to volume up. The amenity lady told me that I hibernated before the end of one hour. Probably, I was just tired. I have lunch date with my wife, a prelude to Mother’s Day. She arrived on time at the cozy nook of our favorite resto. Dating with an ex-girlfriend (my wife now) is something that gets me for basketball supremacy.

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My wife went home ahead to finish some documents for her studies. I stayed at the bookstore for one hour to check on the new arrivals of my favorite authors. (The bookstore is just inside the mall.) There was not much excitement there. I decided to see a movie (using my senior citizen’s card that gives me 20 percent discount.)

In all cinemas, the most talked-about film is “Spiderman.” I have already seen a lot of “Spiderman” movies and all of them tell of the adventures (and misadventures) of a freak hero. Inside the movie house, I shared laughter with the teenagers in the front row, and I also heard a husband and wife quarreling at my side. Spiderman could always solve the problem of the world but cannot do anything with the misunderstanding of this “husband and wife.”

I went out of the mall at around 5:15 p.m. I proceeded to the north terminal where the yellow buses are. There was a long line of passengers towards the bus going to Victorias. I saw some senior citizens and pregnant women in the line. I ask myself, “Are bus companies not offering priority lane for senior citizens (like me), pregnant women, women carrying small children, and persons with disability?

To check my doubt, I went to the security guard who functioned like a “barker” also. “Sir, excuse me. Do you have a priority lane for senior citizens? I am a senior citizen.” He looked at me and said, “A, wala kami sina iya.” (“We don’t have that.”) I courteously explained to him that there is a law or at least a company policy giving privilege to senior citizens. He told me that he does not know about that.

Anyway, he referred me to another person with a table in the passengers’ waiting area. That person pointed me to the next bus as if allowing me (by reading his body language) to proceed to the next bus. Inside the next bus, there was a person seated near the driver’s seat. I presumed that he is a senior citizen also. When the door opened, I told the driver and the conductor if I could take a seat. “I am a senior citizen.” The driver responded, “You don’t look like one, maybe you are not.” That could be a joke, so I showed my card from the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs.

Probably, he was not convinced very well. If one is a senior citizen, he does not need to look craggy with white hair. He (or she) does not need to look ugly and smells like an organic fertilizer. (Even Governor Marañon will not agree with that.) I have nothing against the driver and the conductor. I don’t need to argue, but security guards should at least know the benefits and privileges of a senior citizen under Republic Act No. 9257 if they are assigned at the passengers’ lane.

Senior citizens should know also that they are entitled to free medical and dental, diagnostic and laboratory services in all government facilities. We enjoy 20 percent discount in purchase of unbranded generic medicines; in hotels, restaurants, recreation centers, etc.; in theater, cinema houses, concert halls, etc., on medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in private facilities; in fare of domestic air, sea travel and public land transportation.

Ignorance of the law excuses no one. Persons and corporations violating R.A. 9257 shall be penalized. I hope (and pray) that the persons in charge of the yellow bus company terminals should pay attention to the needs (especially in the line) of senior citizens, pregnant women, women with very young children, and persons with disability.x

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 09, 2014.

Opinion

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