Buluan, Maguindanao — All five centenarian women identified by local Offices of Senior Citizens’ Affairs are still waiting for their package of benefits from the national government, as provided under Republic Act 10868, the Centenarian Act of 2016.
Some of Maguindanao’s 36 municipalities have yet to completely organize municipal Osca units, Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu said in a note to Board Member Mamatanto Mamantal over the weekend.
But to soothe the weakening souls in their twilight, Mangudadatu met many of the province’s senior citizens at the Municipal Gymnasium here on Thursday.
Each of the centenarians received P25,000 from the Provincial Governor’s Office, and that Mangudadatu told them to wait for the P100,000 that DSWD would be giving them as provided in the Centenarian Act.
Provincial Board Member King Jazzer Mangudadatu said the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office should be helping its Municipal Social Welfare Offices hasten the organizing of lower OSCA units at municipal and barangay levels.
PSWDO head Emma Ali said the Department of Social Welfare and Development in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (DSWD-ARMM) has processed 44 cases of centenarian claims for benefits package under RA 10868 and were paid P100,000 each in 2017.
Mayor Freddie Mangudadatu of Mangudadatu town said the centenarian law is about compassion that even the requirements are made easier for elderly persons to comply. But some field workers apparently do not know the DSWD implementing guidelines.
DSWD-ARMM Secretary Laisa Masuhud Alamia thus wanted appreciation of the required documents elevated to a unit in her department that is tasked to address concerns on centenarian benefits.
Mamantal said the governor has urged the Provincial Board to pass an ordinance, directing municipal local governments that have yet to organize local OSCA units to fast-track formation of that office for the elderlies.
Mamantal said Maguindanao has 44,008 senior citizens in 36 towns, and that OSCA units are supposed to lead validation of social cases of local centenarians, according to the DSWD Implementing Guidelines for RA 10868.
The governor said some centenarians were hopeful, and still, a few were no longer as optimistic as to receive benefits package provided under the law.
“I do not wish to live to be a hundred years. I can settle for less, just enough in lifetime. I only wish that what is due to our elders should be delivered to them the soonest possible time while they are still here with us,” Governor Mangudadatu told an assembly of senior citizens, including five centenarians.
Mangudadatu then gave instructions to Maguindanao Budget Officer Lynette Aguilar that in addition to cash gift, wheelchairs and light metal slings be given to pre-identified recipient-elders.