Published on Sunday, 28 July 2013 20:05
Written by Ricardo D. Cruz
BEING older has its perks. People give up their seat for you on a public vehicle. You get a 20-percent discount on fares in public transportation. You can go in front at bank queues or when checking out your groceries from the supermarket. And if you’re living in a city earning billions of pesos every year, chances are you also get cash dividends and a sugar-free cake on your birthday.
The Office of Senior Citizen Affairs (Osca) in Parañaque City believes the elderly deserves to be celebrated in their twilight years in return for their many contributions to their families, their communities and the country.
Dante Pacheco, Parañaque City Osca director, said the city government is taking care of its elderly by advocating various services and programs that benefit them.
“All the programs started by the previous administration will be continued and will include additional programs that will benefit the senior citizens of Parañaque City,” Pacheco said.
The city’s new mayor is Edwin L. Olivarez, former congressman of the city. He took over the helm from Florencio M. Bernabe Sr., long-running mayor of the city.
Pacheco said the city government is continuously developing new ways and strategies to better serve the city’s older population to let them feel they are treasured by the city government.
There are approximately 72,000 senior citizens in the city, Pacheco said.
One of the new benefits the Paranaque City Osca plans to implement is the Osca Cares Card in January to be given to its senior citizens. This is aside from the standard white card all Filipino senior citizens must carry to get their mandated benefits and privileges.
The Osca Cares Card will extend to senior citizens their allotted privileges such as discounts for medicine, transportation, restaurants and even in cinemas. The card will be based on the mapping system results that the local government will be conducting in August and September this year.
Pacheco said by next year, a senior citizen in Parañaque City will be receiving a cash transfer of P500 for their birthday and another P500 at the end of the year for a total of P1,000 per year.
He said the local government is also planning to give cakes to senior citizens for their birthdays. The money for these perks will come from Osca’s operating funds.
The local government initiates various forums exclusively for senior citizens such as aging gracefully, wellness, health and nutrition, and political and spiritual programs.
Pacheco provided guidelines to facilitate the issuance of senior-citizen benefits:
• For new applicants: 1. Secure a copy of the registration form from their home barangay or Osca. 2. Fill up the form. 3. Secure a barangay clearance. 4. Submit the form to Osca office together with the voter’s ID or any valid ID with indicated birth date, barangay clearance and three copies of a 1 x 1 inch photo. When these requirements are met, a senior citizen is entitled to receive an Osca ID, medicine, movie and grocery booklets.
• For lost ID: 1. Secure an affidavit of loss form from Osca or barangay. 2. Fill it up and have it notarized. 3. Submit the affidavit to Osca with attached one-inch by 1 x 1 inch photo. Upon the completion of the process, new Osca ID will be given.
For the replacement of lost booklet: 1. Get the affidavit of loss form from Osca. 2. Fill up the form. 3. Pay a fine of P75 to the Treasury for the lost booklet. 4. Submit the booklet form together with the treasury receipt. New booklet will be issued.
• For senior citizen transferees: 1. Secure a copy of the registration form from barangay or Osca. 2. Fill up the given form. 3. Secure a copy of the barangay clearance. 4. Surrender the old senior-citizen ID and submit form to Osca office together with a photocopy of voter’s ID or any valid ID with indicated birth date, barangay clearance, and three copies of a 1 x 1 inch photo. Upon the completion of the process, Osca ID, medicine, movie and grocery booklets will be given.
• For Osca ID replacement: Just surrender the old ID and submit two pieces of a 1 x 1 inch photo. The new Osca ID will be given.
• For expired booklet replacement: Just surrender the old or expired booklet and it will be replaced with a new booklet.
These procedures aid senior citizens to be equipped with proper guidelines on what to do when the situation happens and bring them hassle-free processing.
Republic Act 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, is the law that mandates and provides for the benefits and privileges of all Filipino citizens aged 60 and older.
The benefits and privileges include a 20-percent discount and exemption from the value-added tax on the purchase of goods and services.
A 5-percent discount on electric and water bills may also be availed of by the city’s seniors, provided that the meter for the utilities are registered in the name of the senior citizen and monthly electricity consumption should not be over 100 kilowatt hours and 30 cubic meters for water.
Any person or establishment refusing to honor the senior citizens’ ID issued by the Osca will face the appropriate penalty as what the law mandates.
For the first violation, a fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P100,000 and imprisonment of not less than two years but not more than six years will be implemented.
For any subsequent violation, a fine not less than P100,000 but not exceeding P200,000 and imprisonment for not less than two years but not more than six years will be meted out.