A bill seeking to grant centenarians P100,000 in cash and a letter of felicitation from the President was approved by the Senate on third and final reading.
The bill is among the pending legislation passed by the Senate before Congress convened as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) to count the votes for the presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Sen. Nancy Binay, sponsor of Senate Bill No. 449 or the Centenarians Act of 2013, said the measure also seeks to declare every September 25 as “National Respect for Centenarians Day.”
“The measure is the Senate’s way of recognizing the country’s centenarians, who have reached the milestone age of one hundred years old, often through clean and responsible living. They are good examples for our people, and help encourage a healthier lifestyle among our citizenry,” Senate President Franklin Drilon said.
“We have a culture of taking care and providing for our elders. It is somewhat a voluntary obligation imposed on oneself. Let us keep this unique Filipino trait of taking care of our elderly by honoring our centenarians,” Binay said in her sponsorship speech.
Records from the Department of Social Welfare and Development showed that there were 3,533 centenarians as of 2015.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, co-sponsor of the bill, said once the measure is passed into law, the city or town where the centenarians live must give them a plaque of recognition on their 100th birthday.
Centenarians, he noted, are so few that the bill would not burn a hole in the taxpayer’s pocket as the centenarians represent only a small percentage of the population.