The Makati City government has appropriated P440.94 million for programs and benefits intended for 85,000 senior citizens registered under the Blu Card program.
Mayor Abigail Binay said Wednesday the amount constitutes almost a third of the P1.37-billion budget for the Social Welfare sub-sector, which is 13.72 percent of the P9.98-billion total budget allocation for the Social Services sector comprising Health, Education and Social Welfare.
“We have made sure there will be enough funding for a whole year of timely delivery of unequalled benefits and services to our senior Makatizens,” Binay said.
Among the unique privileges enjoyed by Blu Card members are cash gifts given twice a year, P100,000 for centenarians, unlimited free entrance in Makati cinemas, free leisure trips, and a host of other freebies including birthday cakes, golden wedding anniversary cakes, salon and spa services, and cultural shows. The city also hosts a welcome party for new senior citizens.
The city chief executive said of the P440.94-million budget, the city has allotted P331.7 million for the cash gifts and one-time Centenarian cash gift; P43 million for free movies; P44.2 million for free cakes on birthdays and golden wedding anniversaries; P3.8 million for Lakbay Saya; P6 million for cultural and theatrical presentations; P985,000 for free salon and spa services; P956,000 for the welcome party for new Blu card members; and P6 million for the burial assistance of P3,000 given to the family of a Blu Card member upon his or her demise.
“All these perks under the Blu Card are over and above the quality health care the city is providing elderly residents of Makati, as well as opportunities for personal growth and livelihood,” said Binay.
Under the Yellow Card program, senior citizens are entitled to free outpatient and diagnostic services, subsidized hospitalization, and free medicines including monthly supply of maintenance drugs for hypertension, diabetes, arthritis and other ailments associated with old age.
Those needing dialysis treatment can avail of unlimited free dialysis sessions at Ospital ng Makati and private facilities through outsourcing. Hospice care is also provided to bedridden and terminally ill elderly patients.
The city has also encouraged elderly residents to pursue higher education through a scholarship program with the University of Makati and public senior high schools, and granting incentives to those who are able to graduate from senior high school, college and graduate school.
Employment opportunities also await those who are still fit to work through regular job fairs conducted by city hall as well as the upcoming Makati Subway, which is projected to employ around 10,000 residents.
Meanwhile, other major Social Welfare programs being funded by the city government include the Makati Universal Health Insurance with P70 million allocated for enrolment of indigent families with PhilHealth ng Masa; Lingkod Bayan Caravan that delivers various services to the barangays, P16.8 million; Disaster Relief Assistance, P10.5 million; and Aid to Individuals and Families in Crisis Situations, P9.9 million.
For the PWD sector, the city has earmarked P6.8 million for mobility aids and P4 million for their free movies privilege. For men, women and children empowerment programs, the city has allotted P1.2 million, P2.2 million, and P4.5 million respectively.
The city has also allocated P5.6 million for capacity enhancement programs under the Makati Gender and Development (GAD) Council, P16.7 million for programs under the Makati City Council for the Protection of Children, and P10.3 million for programs under the Makati Anti-Poverty Committee.
Under the Blu Card program, senior citizens aged 60 to 89 receive cash gifts ranging from P3,000 to P5,000 per year.
Last year, upon the recommendation of Mayor Binay the City Council passed City Ordinance No. 2019-A-023 granting P10,000 in cash gift to Blu cardholders between 90-99 years old, and from age 101 years for as long as they live.
To date, 59 centenarians have been given one-time P100,000 cash gift since 2012, through City Ordinance 2012-099.
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