INSTEAD of vests, Cebu City Hall plans to give maintenance medicines for qualified senior citizens.
But Mayor Michael Rama urged Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella and the Team Rama allies in the City Council to propose an ordinance providing guidelines on the granting of non-cash benefits to qualified senior citizens.
Rama said that he can convert the P24-million proposed budget to buy vests for the city’s 69,000 senior citizens to provide for the basic needs of the elderly, like medicines.
“I have been very sensitive. If di sila gusto, then OSCA (Office of the Senior Citizens’ Affairs) will have to tell the seniors,” he said. “Di man sad na gikan nako ang proposal sa vest (The proposal to give vests did not come from me). What is important is what is urgent for them.”
The executive branch at City Hall plans to give non-cash benefits on top of the P12,000 a year cash assistance to senior citizens.
Rama said that he hopes the guidelines would be established this year so that City Hall can extend additional assistance to senior citizens.
He said that City Hall has yet to determine how much will be given to the elderly this year.
Aside from the additional aid for the elderly, Rama also wants to hold a discussion with several groups to determine who among the person-with-disabilities (PWDs) in the city will get additional financial aid.
The City Council recently passed an ordinance increasing to P12,000 from P5,000 the annual financial assistance that the City gives PWDs.
Rama said that the City Government should be careful in giving dole-outs because he does not want Cebu City to be described as a “social welfare city.”
He said that while he agrees with the need to increase the financial aid to PWDs, severe cases should be given priority.
He said that he wants to meet with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Social Welfare and Services, Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center and non-government organizations that promote the rights of PWDs to discuss the right assistance for the sector and avoid abuses.