Press Release
February 26, 2020

Sen. Leila M. de Lima[i]

SBN 1319 or "An Act Expanding the Coverage of the Centenarians Act of 2016, Amending for the Purpose Sec. 2. of Republic Act No. 10868 and For Other Purposes"
Session Hall, Senate of the Philippines
26 February 2020

Mr. President, esteemed colleagues,

With Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. as the Subcommittee Chair and the members of the Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, I wish to submit and seek the approval of the proposed Senate Bill No. 1319, under Committee Report No. 37, entitled: An Act Expanding the Coverage of the Centenarians Act of 2016, Amending for the Purpose Sec. 2. of Republic Act No. 10868 and For Other Purposes.

From the data gathered in the course of our study and public hearing, the Committee has learned the unfortunate scenario that only a very small fraction of octogenarians live long enough to become centenarians. Even more unfortunately, many, if not most, of our centenarians are already too old, sickly, and impaired to properly enjoy the blessings of the Centenarian Law. According to the World Health Organization's statistics published in 2018, the average person residing in the Philippines has a lifespan of 69.3 years. This average shows that we are three years shorter than the global average of age 72.

In 2019, the DSWD reported to us that they were only able to serve and give the ₱100,000 cash gift to 739 individuals. To note, this is still below their target of 1,000 Filipino centenarians.

To provide our senior citizens with the modest support for their needs and the motivation to live longer towards reaching their centenary age, this measure aims to expand the coverage of Republic Act No. 10868 to include those Filipinos reaching the age of eighty (80) and ninety (90) years old and grant them an acceptable cash gift for reaching this age.

With this bill, Mr. President, we will provide our dear senior citizens of a one-time cash gift amounting to ₱10,000 upon reaching milestone age of 80 and 90 years old. Upon reaching the age of 100, they will receive another ₱100,000 as currently provided by the law. Ultimately, we hope that by expanding the coverage of this law, we are able to concretely honor our elderly for their meaningful contributions and their hard-fought sacrifices to their community and the Philippine society during their years of vigor. Sabi nila, "Huwag kang magsisisi na tumanda. ito ay isang pribilehiyo na nakamtan ng marami".

As a senior citizen myself, I can start to feel and relate more with them. It is a privilege to age and celebrate the gift of life that God gave us. But as we reach old age, the decline of the Senior Citizens' productive capacity exposes this sector to various vulnerabilities, and the government must be there to afford them the support they need together with their families.

"Lahat tayo, tatanda din." In light of the foregoing, I hereby appeal to my colleagues to lend their support for this measure as a tribute to our beloved elderly. Marami pong salamat!


[i] De Lima's Sponsorship Speech was delivered by Sen. Risa Hontiveros at today's plenary session, 26 February 2020.

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