GIS EXCLUSIVE: Atty. Macalintal eyes changes to the benefit system for senior citizens

Marje Pelayo   •   January 7, 2019   •   3889

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal with Kuya Daniel Razon on the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon | PVI/ Froilan Calces

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – Veteran election lawyer Atty. Romulo Macalintal wants to enter politics to give voice to one of the most vulnerable sectors in the country – the senior citizens.

He is considered one of the most prominent election lawyers in the country for representing high-ranking officials of the government including former Presidents Gloria Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III.

Macalintal has been offered a position in government many times in the past but refused to accept them as he wanted a position decided by the people.

In October 2018, Macalintal formalized his bid in the 2019 senatorial race.

Given the chance to serve, the veteran lawyer said he will work immediately to amend the law on senior citizens’ benefits.

“Dapat ang discount ng mga senior citizen pagdating natin ng 70 years old, 30 per cent ang discount. Pagdating ng 80 years old dapat 40 per cent ang discount. Pagdating natin ng 90 and above dapat 50% na ang discount natin sapagkat habang tayo ay tumatanda kailangang kailangan natin ng gamot at medical services,” Macalintal said in an interview in the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon on Monday (January 5).

Among other issues which he wants to improve are the P100,000 cash gift for centenarians; discounts on electric bills for senior citizens; and the establishment of a senior citizens common fund for the benefit of indigent senior citizens.

“Kung 7M lang na senior citizens araw-araw ang magbibigay ng .50 centavos, that would be P3.5M a day, P90M a month, and P1.2B a year,” he explained, noting that the fund will be managed by specific “reputable people.”

He also eyes scrapping all monetary dues intended for overseas Filipino workers (OFW).

Atty. Macalintal hopes that he would receive enough support for his senatorial bid not only from the elderly sector but also from his clients as a lawyer to be able to secure a position in the Senate. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Elderly PUV drivers appeal to be allowed to resume driving despite age

Marje Pelayo   •   June 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Buses, modern jeepneys, and UV Express units will be allowed to ply on major roads starting June 22 on the condition of limited passenger capacity and under strict social distancing protocols. 

But based on the guidelines issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), elderly drivers of public utility vehicles (PUV) or senior citizens are still not allowed to go back to driving as they are part of the vulnerable sector who are prone to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.

This was what the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) said in Resolution No. 28 issued on April 23 saying that the elderly or senior citizens are among the high-risk individuals.

But some drivers appealed to the government to allow them to go back to their job, especially those who are fit to drive like Alberto Manuel Jr. 

Manuel said he can still drive at his age of 76 and being a jeepney driver has been his ‘bread and butter’ for almost 56 years now. 

“Ang lisensya ko sa 2023 pa mag-expire. Pagdating ng 2023 ang edad ng lisensya ko 59 years na, mag-si-senior citizen na rin[ My license will expire in 2023. Come 2023, my license will be 59 years old, close to being a senior citizen as well],” Manuel said.

“Malakas pa naman ako. Malinaw pa ang mata ko [I’m still strong. My vision is still clear], he added.

Also an elderly, Allan Ocampo has been a jeepney driver for 30 years now. 

He is a member of ‘Barcads,’ a group of UV Express drivers in Novaliches, Quezon City.

Ocampo said the government should take into consideration the condition of senior citizens who are still able to drive as this is their only source of income. 

Sa akin hangga’t malakas kahit senior na [For me, (I can still work) as long as I’m strong despite being a senior citizen],” Ocampo said.

“Parang inaalisan na nila ng karapatan ang isang tao, ang isang senior na gusto pang magtrabaho [It’s like they have taken away the rights of a person, the rights of an elderly who still wants to earn a living],” added Carlito Tumbaga who is also a senior citizen.

Meanwhile, the UNTV News team has sought the LTFRB’s side on the issue but the agency has no reply as of this writing. MNP (with reports from Dante Amento)

IATF: Selected senior citizens allowed to go out under ECQ, GCQ

Marje Pelayo   •   May 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The national government has further relaxed quarantine measures to consider selected senior citizens after several advocates pitched for them in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ) starting May 1.

Initially, the Omnibus Guidelines on the implementation of GCQ restricted senior citizens from going out especially those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity and other pre-existing conditions which make them high risks for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection. 

But following discussions, IATF and Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said the government is allowing older people, or those 60 years old and above, to go out for essential work in authorized sectors, for medical consultations and for buying essential goods.

“Hindi po kayo pinipigilan, basta po allowed na ang inyong trabaho. Puwede po kayong mag-trabaho mga seniors [You are not being restricted as long as your sector is allowed to operate. Senior citizens are allowed to work],” Roque explained.

Several lawmakers aired concerns regarding senior citizens who are still able to go to work or those who own and manage their own business which requires outdoor transactions. 

In a follow-up interview with UNTV Serbisyong Kasangbahay on Friday (May 1), Roque reiterated that elder citizens who are fit and authorized may go out provided that they have the necessary passes.

Fake news po iyan na pinagbabawalan ang lahat ng senior [It’s not true that senior citizens are restricted from going out],” Roque said.

Roque cited as example the composition of the national government where most officials are senior citizens including President Rodrigo Duterte, the members of his Cabinet and the officials of the IATF. 

He said even under the ECQ, senior citizens may still go out. 

Kahit walang kasama ang seniors para kumuha ng kanilang essentials pwede silang lumabas [They may go out to get what they need even without a companion],” he stressed provided that the senior citizen has an authorized quarantine pass.

Kapag may trabaho, ipakita lang po ang kanilang work ID, wala namang problema doon, [If the senior citizen has work or is employed, just present their work ID, that’s not a problem],” the official concluded. MNP (With inputs from Rosalie Coz)

Manila gov’t to continue P500-monthly cash assistance to senior citizens

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 20, 2020

The Manila City Government said it will continue providing P500-monthly cash assistance to its senior citizens amid the enhanced community quarantine.

According to Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, they have tasked barangay officials to go door-to-door and provide the cash assistance to registered senior citizens.

An estimated 65,000 senior citizens will benefit from the program which began distribution on Monday (April 20).

Domagoso also clarified that the said number excludes the 17,000 senior citizens listed in the automated distribution.

For unlisted senior citizens, the Manila mayor said barangay officials will get the needed information to be submitted to the City Hall. Once verified, the submitted names will be listed among the beneficiaries.

“Halimbawa, sa isang barangay 200 senior citizens lang ‘edi 200 lang ang mabibigyan. ‘Kaso mayor 250 kami dito’ ‘edi ilista iyong 50 (For example, in one barangay there are 200 senior citizens, so 200 of them will receive cash assistance. If they say, ‘But mayor there is 250 of us here,’ then we will list the other 50),” Domagoso said.

The mayor also aims to provide cash assistance to the remaining senior citizens by next week. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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