Tell it to SunStar: What is the government waiting for?

By Reni M. Valenzuela
Tell it to SunStar.
Tell it to SunStar.SunStar file photo

My 101-year-old beloved mother contracted pneumonia last Saturday night, May 11, 2024. I went to the hospital the following day (Mother’s Day) to check on her condition, pray for her and greet her “Happy Mother’s Day” with a bouquet of her favorite pink roses. But I couldn’t speak to her because “she was always asleep from the time her oxygen level went down from normal three days ago,” her caregiver reported.

By the way, my mother was a dressmaker in Mila’s Dress Shop most of her strong, vibrant years. She isn’t only an excellent, in-demand dressmaker/designer in our community, but more importantly, she’s a faithful, very supportive wife to a war veteran hero and a once government auditor, my father, who passed away in 2001-- besides being “uliran” or a great and sacrificing mother to all of us, five siblings.

Aling Mila, as she was fondly called in the neighborhood, was very happy when I broke to her the news on her 101st birthday last February -- that the government has a promised reward/gift of P1M to her for having reached her age. She has been looking forward to the fulfillment of that promise since then.

On May 8, 2023, Congress released an announcement in its website: “With an overwhelming 257 votes, the chamber approved House Bill (HB) 7535, which seeks to grant P1 million to Filipinos who reach 101 years old or centenarians, whether living here or abroad, and P25,000 to Filipinos who reach the age of 80 and 85 (octogenarians), and 90 and 95 (nonagenarians). All of them will also receive a letter of felicitation from the President of the Philippines.”

But what happened to that approved bill, one year hence?

My mom couldn’t speak audibly anymore, but she can open her mouth to say what she wants to say. Two weeks ago when I mentioned to her again about the P1M government gift/reward to cheer her up, she responded with her lip gesture (as I read it), “Ano ba ang hinihintay nila (What is the government waiting for)?”


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