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More state aid for centenarian Filipinos

Government will give 100,000 pesos to nearly 8,000 people under new law

Gulf News

Manila: Under a proposed law called the Centenarians Act, the Philippines government will give 100,000 pesos in cash to every 100-year old Filipino population, estimated at 8,000.

The Senate and the House of Representatives have passed the bill, said Congressman Edcel Lagman, the bill’s author.

The gift will be given 30 days after a centenarian’s enrollment to the programme, data of which will be verified by a national committee that will be created for this purpose, said Lagman, adding this provision was part of the Senate’s version of the bill.

At the same time, the bill gives centenarians 75 per cent discount on goods and services, according to the Senate’s version of the bill, higher than the 50 per cent discount as proposed by the House of Representatives in its version of the bill, said Lagman.

The Senate approved the bill on third and final reading on January 28. The House of Representatives had passed its version of the said bill on third and final reading last March 2012.

The Senate also decided to do away with the bicameral conference to unite the bill’s versions at the two houses of Congress. There were minor amendments proposed by the Senate to the House of Representatives’ version of the bill, said Lagman.

This will facilitate the bill’s approval in session and its immediate signing into a law by President Benigno Aquino, said Lagman but did not give a date.

Noting the bill’s importance, Lagman said it underlines that being 100 year old is “an achievement and a distinction worthy of emulation and public recognition”.

The bill is an amendment of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act that gives benefits to 60-year old Filipinos which was passed in 2003.