The Philippines finally can fully implement a new law honouring Filipinos who have scored a milestone by reaching 100 years. This as the Implementing Rules and Regulations for the Centerians Act of 2016 (Republic Act No. 10868) was signed in ceremonies in Malacanang with no less than President Duterte witnessing the event. The signing of the IRR was made a few days before the observance of Elderly Filipino Week, which is annually held on Oct. 1 to 7. The National Respect for Centenarians Day is also held on the first Sunday of October.
Under the new law, it will now be mandatory for the national government to grant all 100-year-old Filipinos, whether living in the country or abroad, P100,000 as a birthday gift and a letter of felicitation from the President. The centenarians will also receive an additional cash gift and a plaque of recognition from their respective local government units. Actually, many LGUs like Makati City have been giving cash gifts to its centenarians in the past. Aside from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Health (DOH) and Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) will also aid in carrying out the Centenarian Law.
The new law is expected to benefit some 3,000 centenarians who are in the country. The same will also boost the morale of thousands of seniors to make lives healthy and meaningful to be able to reach the milestone of 100 years. Already, thousands of seniors are receiving discounts on food and important purchases, fares for air, water and land transportation, free admission in cinemas, free parking and many other benefits. There are moves to also exempt them from value added taxes on their purchases and transactions.
The Centenarians Act of 2016 is in keeping with Article XV of the 1987 Constitution which states: "The family has the duty to take care of its elderly members but the State may also do so through just programs of social security." We laud the members of Congress for coming out with the new law honouring and supporting our elders. Perhaps, our leaders could also make mandatory the tradition of Filipinos kissing and saying “Mano po” to our elders to whom we owe our lives as many of the youth today has forgotten this golden tradition.