IN A BID to further empower the senior citizens in the City of Baguio, City Councilor Faustino Olowan has authored a bill that would make mandatory the representation of senior citizens in the City Council, as well as providing funds for the purpose.
As explained in the proposed legislative measure the basis for the sectoral representation by senior citizens in the local legislative body of the city can be found in Section 457 of Republic Act 7160 otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991 which states, on the composition of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, that, “(a) the Sangguniang Panlungsod, the legislative body of the city, shall be composed of the City Vice Mayor as presiding officer, the regular sanggunian members, the president of the city chapter of the liga ng mga barangay, the president of the pederasyon ng mga sangguniang kabataan, and the sectoral representatives as members. (b) In addition thereto, there shall be sectoral representatives, xxx xxx, and one from the other sectors, xxx”.
Further, the alderman also explained in his proposal that while there have been several laws that have been approved and implemented for the elderly these are only limited to the privileges and benefits that the senior citizens are entitled to, and that while the city has established a Senior Citizens Officials for a Day (SCOFAD) program, the one day only legislative session has no consistency and continuity particularly on their formulated policies and programs. It was also pointed out by Olowan in his proposed ordinance that the laws providing benefits and privileges to the senior citizens is silent on the most important tenets that would seek to uplift the morale, spiritual, physical, mental and the basic rights of the senior citizens as a whole. He then stressed that it is the view of a majority of elders in the city that their general interests have not been fully represented or given full attention and that it is high time for the elderly to be properly represented in the local legislative body, and that such privilege would be the appropriate means to respond to whatever pending claims, rights, requests and concerns that they may be seeking, asserting and defending throughout their lives.
In making mandatory the representation of senior citizens in the city council Councilor Olowan expressed his sentiment that their participation as a regular member of the Sangguniang Panlungsod, similar to the representative of the Liga ng mga Barangay and the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation would fully address the concerns of the elderly in the city as well as aid in the development of our society.
The said proposed ordinance was tackled last Monday during the regular session of the city council and has been approved on First Reading and referred to the appropriate committee for study and subsequent recommendation.