Focus on the elderly

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By Benjie R. Pangan

At Close Range

Thursday, September 4, 2014


LEGISLATION have been passed to address concerns and issues affecting the senior citizens of the country.

Discounts and other perks have come the way of the elderly and more benefits are being studied to be given them soon.

Former Manila representative Benny M. Abante took the cudgels for the elderly and has urged the government to help "conceptualize fund and implement projects on the grassroots level that will empower the country's ageing population".

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He says:"By 2050, our elderly shall number close to 25 million. Empowering them today means achieving our target of all-inclusive growth tomorrow".

If the national government can list lump sum allocations such as some P1.37 billion for the Department of the Interior and Local Government and some P1.7 billion for the Department of Agriculture and some P202 million for projects to be determined in some 50 towns throughout the country, the more it should allocate a sizeable amount for the elderly.

Benny Abante observes: "These are huge amounts, the use of which have yet to be identified. Why not use them to fund projects such as local arts and handicraft which the elderly could engage in even at their age? Why not establish nurseries or plantations that could be managed by senior citizens' cooperatives and organizations?".

Such sensible observations coming from a former lawmaker and known advocate of senior citizens' rights and welfare.

In Mabalacat City, there are some 13,000 plus registered senior citizens. Councilor Eddie Sotto, chair of senior citizens' affairs in the Sangguniang Panlungsod, suggests that some parcels of land inside the Clark International Airport complex may be allotted to the senior citizens' cooperative for them to farm or at least manage to keep them preoccupied and productive rather than lose their time to boredom and inactivity.

International organizations such as the United Nations Population Fund list the elderly as the third most neglected sector in the Philippines, next to fisherfolk and farmers. The national government should address the issues of the elderly while there is still time.

***

Mayor Marino "Boking" Morales finally delivered his State of the City address in glittering ceremonies last Monday at SM City Clark aided by cadets and the mayor's staff and some LGU employees.

City councilors were in attendance and so were barangay chairmen, kagawads and tanods. Vice Mayor Christian C. Halili and board members Cris Garbo and Cherry Manalo were there too. Barangay health workers were in full force and listened intently to the almost three hours of presentation hosted by Jun Magbalot and technical director Noel Tulabut. The academe was aptly represented.

Mayor Morales highlighted the accomplishments in education, health, infrastructure, peace and order and job generation. He cited Clark's role in providing growth to Mabalacat's employment and tourism. As usual, he presented a glowing account of the tremendous increase of income, from P33 million in 1995 to some P700 million in 2014 and about P770 million (estimate) in 2015.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 05, 2014.

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