Barely a week left into his term, President Benigno Aquino III signed into law a measure that will grant a P100,000 cash incentive and additional benefits and privileges to Filipino centenarians.
The new law, Republic Act 10868, was approved by Aquino last June 23, said Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the measure's primary proponent in the House of Representatives.
Under RA 10868, all Filipinos who reach the age of 100 will receive a letter of felicitation from the President of the Philippines and a P100,000 cash gift, whether they are residing in the Philippines or abroad.
They will also be awarded with a plaque of recognition and additional cash gift from their respective city or municipal governments during the National Respect for Centenarians Day, which is set on September 25 of every year.
Lagman said an estimated 3,500 Filipinos aged 100 and older will benefit from the enactment of the Centenarian Act.
“I am especially excited for the 3,500 Filipino centenarians who will be conferred with the recognition they rightfully deserve and of course their P100,000.00 cash gift very soon,” he said in a statement Monday.
Lagman said he is grateful for Aquino for signing the bill into law before he steps down on June 30.
“Just in the nick of time! I must say it was really a long wait but it was well worth the wait," he said.
“[On] behalf of all the co-authors of the Centenarians Act, I would like to thank our President for giving it the green light at last,” the lawmaker added.
In 2013, Aquino vetoed a bill giving additional benefits to centenarians because of a provision mandating businesses to grant a 75-percent discount on goods and services to customers aged 100 and older.
Malacañang said the clause was “too heavy” for business entities to shoulder.
In a statement, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said the signed Centenarians Act no longer carries the provision on the 75-percent discount.
Coloma said the RA 10868 was one of four legislative proposals recently signed by Aquino.
The other three are RA 10865 or the Mayor Hilarion A. Ramiro, Sr. Medical Center Act, RA 10866 or the Batanes Responsible Tourism Act, and RA 10867 or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Reorganization and Modernization Act.
“[The] NBI Reorganization Act is product of inter-agency consensus building,” Coloma said.
The said proposal submitted to Congress sought to expand the structure, capability and manpower of the NBI to meet the increasing demands of investigative and detective work.
It also intends to modernize the facilities and intelligence devices, establishment of forensic and scientific laboratories and training of NBI personnel.
Meanwhile, the Congress-approved Batanes Responsible Tourism Act had sought to ensure the development of tourism programs that will generate employment and livelihood for residents in the province of Batanes. —With a report from Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez/ALG/KG, GMA News