Nat’l Senior Citizens Commission eyed for improved elderly benefits
Lawmakers are pushing for the full implementation of laws that would safeguard and promote the interests of more than 10 million senior citizens nationwide.
Senior party-list Rep. Francisco Datol Jr. led the filing of a bill seeking the creation of a new Commission that would ensure that the laws benefiting senior citizens, particularly Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 are fully implemented.
He laments that there is lack of cohesiveness in terms of services rendered and implementation of the pro-elderly laws by the various Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA).
OSCA is under the administrative control and supervision of the local government units.
"There is marked absence of cases filed for non-compliance of the laws, and the apparent lack of proper implementation, monitoring and enforcement," Datol said in filing House Bill 6251.
Currently, OSCA functions merely as liaison center for senior citizens, concerned mainly with maintaining a regular update on the list of senior citizens and issuing individual national identification cards.
Under House Bill 6251 or the proposed National Senior Citizens Commission Act, Datol sought the creation of a seven-man National Senior Citizens Commission to ensure that the requirements and needs of the country's senior citizens are fully served and satisfied.
Joining Datol in pushing for the passage of the bill are Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Que- zon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
"We have heard numerous unfortunate stories of senior citizens whose benefits and special privileges granted by law were not honored, and their complaints against erring business establishments remained unacted upon," Datol said.
"The creation of a single cohesive agency that will address the needs of our senior citizens, implement and enforce our laws, and monitor compliance for the welfare and benefit of our more than 10 million senior citizens throughout the country is of primordial importance, " he said.
HB 6251 mandates the Commission to act as the specialized agency that will supervise the functions of OSCA and to strengthen the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, which derives its roots under Republic Act 7432.
The Commission shall be under the Office of the President and will have its principal office within the National Capital Region (NCR). It shall be composed of a chairman and six commissioners.
The bill provides that one percent of the local government revenues apportioned to the senior citizens by virtue of the yearly general appropriations budget shall be realigned to form part of the funds for the establishment of the Commission.