|Booklets for distribution, Right and Privileges of Senior Citizens (R.A. 9994)|
Many senior citizens were overjoyed when the bill now known as Republic Act 9994 was signed into law in 2010. What they did not foresee was that it would not be strictly implemented. Some establishments declined to honor the 20% discount and Vat exemption, which was one of the salient features of the law. Some Local Government Units (LGUs) do not provide Philhealth coverage or burial assistance to indigent senior citizens, some still do not follow the honorarium allotted to OSCA Heads in cities, first and second class municipalities. Even the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) does not follow the letter of the law and fails to provide the monthly social pension of P500 to all indigent senior citizens – regardless of age. The agency set a priority for those 75 years and above.
Rep. Arquiza believes that the best way for R.A. 9994 to properly benefit senior citizens is to effectively disseminate information about it. Since 2010, Rep. Arquiza has gone around the Philippines to make senior citizens aware of their rights as mandated by R.A. 9994. In this endeavor, he traveled to as many as 150 municipalities nationwide from the CAR region to Region 13 (Butuan). He also initiated a Regional Forum and Assessment of R.A. 9994 all over the Philippines: first in Baguio City in CAR; second in Calasiao in Region I; 3rd in Tuguegarao City, Region II; for the fourth time in Pampanga, Region III. Other summits were held in Laguna, Region IV-A; in Palawan, Region IV-B; in Legazpi City, Bicol region; in Iloilo City, Region VI; in Tagbilaran, Bohol, Region VII; in Cagayan de Oro City, Region X; in Davao City, Region XI; and Butuan City, Region XIII. Each of the said forums was attended by almost all senior citizen representatives from the area.
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