Senior citizens may soon have more than just good health to look forward to on their birthdays.
This, as the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading a proposal that will give them P100,000 on their 100th birthday.
Under the Centenarians Bill filed by House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman, Filipinos who turn 100 will be honored on September 25 of each year--the proposed National Respect for Centenarians Day. They will receive a P100,000 cash gift and a letter of felicitation from the President.
Centenarians will also be eligible for additional cash gifts and a plaque from their local government units.
Aside from the gifts, centenarians will also enjoy a 50-percent discount on goods and services from all establishments as well as exemption from value-added tax.
Lagman said the current life expectancy for Filipinos is 71 years. "Living to be a centenarian, or three decades past the life expectancy is therefore an achievement and a distinction worthy of emulation and public recognition," he said.
He said the government must give centenarians psychological and monetary benefits for living exemplary lives because living to 100 requires discipline.
"They are the role models for the future of aging," Lagman added.
The bill, if passed into law, will also award plaques of recognition to the families of centenarians who have already died. The bill does not have a counterpart proposal at the Philippine Senate yet.
Aside from Lagman, Reps. Rosenda Ann Ocampo (Manila), Baby Aline Vargas-Alfonso (Cagayan), Rogelio Espina (Biliran), and Roman Romulo (Pasig City) are listed as co-authors of the bill. Party-list representatives Godofredo Arquiza and David Kho (Senior Citizens), Reena Concepcion Obillo (Una ang Pamilya), Teodorico Haresco (Ang Kasangga), and Maximo Rodriguez (Abante Mindanao) are also co-authors.