On Monday, the House of Representatives passed a significant bill on its third and final reading, aimed at recognizing and supporting Filipino centenarians who reach the remarkable age of 101 years.
The bill proposes a substantial increase in the cash gift awarded to these extraordinary individuals, raising it from the existing amount of P100,000 to an impressive P1 million.
With an overwhelming majority of 257 votes in favor, the House approved House Bill (HB) No. 7535. This bill, if enacted into law, will grant a generous P1 million cash gift to all Filipinos who reach the remarkable age of 101, regardless of whether they reside in the Philippines or abroad.
Additionally, the bill extends recognition and financial support to octogenarians (aged 80 and 85) and nonagenarians (aged 90 and 95), who will each receive a cash gift of P25,000. Furthermore, all recipients will be honored with a letter of felicitation from the President of the Philippines.
Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez expressed the House's desire to pay tribute to these centenarians, acknowledging their invaluable contributions to the nation and their dedication to leading long, healthy, and productive lives. He emphasized that this legislation was a heartfelt gesture of appreciation from the House of Representatives.
Some of the primary authors of this bill include Representatives Rodolfo Ordanes, Jude Acidre, Sonny Lagon, Daphne Lagon, Brian Yamsuan, PM Vargas, Toby Tiangco, Salvador Pleyto, Roy Loyola, LRay Villafuerte, Loreto Amante, Jam Baronda, Eric Yap, Edvic Yap, Paolo Duterte, Migs Nograles, Lani Mercado-Revilla, Gus Tambunting, and others.
Speaker Romualdez also highlighted the importance of extending this benefit to octogenarians and nonagenarians, allowing them to enjoy this financial support without having to wait until they reach the age of 101.
House Bill (HB) No. 7535 mandates the National Commission of Senior Citizens to oversee the implementation of this measure once it becomes law. This bill proposes to amend Republic Act No. 10868, commonly known as the Centenarians Act of 2016, which originally entitled all Filipinos who reached the remarkable age of 100 and above to a cash gift worth P100,000.
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As of 2020, statistics indicate that there are approximately two centenarians for every 100,000 Filipinos, with the majority of them being women, according to data from a UK-based care home marketplace reported by Business Mirror. Additionally, a House committee hearing held last year revealed that there were a total of 662 Filipino centenarians residing in the country, as reported by then Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Erwin Tulfo.