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Chasing the centenarian dream

Ric Maulion

“Man does not live by bread alone but also bread and butter.” -The Gospel According to Peanuts

 

“JUST in the nick of time! I must say it was really a long wait but it was well worth the wait,” Rep. Edcel Lagman exclaimed after PNoy signed into law RA 10868 or the Centenarians Act on June 27, 2016 a week left before his administration ended.

Good grief, Charlie Brown! Huli man at magaling pa rin given the 3,500 centenarians and those older who each stand to benefit from that P100,000-cash gift windfall from the government.

This writer didn’t actually vote for PNoy because of that “psychological imbalance” document certified by a psychiatrist. I wrote even several articles critical of him.

Remember the infamous Luneta hostage crisis? (His cellphone was turned off when a Hongkong official contacted him to remedy the situation.

What about that infamous Mamasapano incident where SAF 44 commandos were killed like turkeys because there was lack of support on the ground? Worst was the disrespect of not giving them and their families the much needed sympathy during the arrival rites at the airport.

There were other issues albeit the economy enjoyed a positive growth during his term.

But this Centenarians Act probably changed the way I looked at his administration.

He vetoed a bill in 2013 granting a 75-percent discount on goods and services to customers 100 years old and above, apparently too heavy for concerned business entities to handle. Panubra pud reason that it was not incorporated in RA 10868.

Respect for elders is actually one among the four original commandments along with “It’s better to give than to receive.” This, too, spoke well of the good intention of PNoy.

But here’s the catch: How many would be benefit from this law? The city hall of Cagayan de Oro recently awarded a few centenarians. I saw one post on Facebook about a centenarian treated to a lavish birthday party. Photo showed friends and relatives posing and smiling but pronounced though is the static face of the celebrant whose head was reclining on right shoulder while gazing far away. The celebrant must not been aware of the festive mood of the day!

No wonder that Congressman Belmonte wanted to amend the law in order to lower the age from 100 to 90 years old. I wonder if Lagman and Belmonte and those who co-sponsored it conducted their own research. What disservice and disrespect did they show towards our elders. One thing is certain — RA 10868 would definitely outgrow all of them.

Seventy-one years is the lifespan, according to official records. It used to be 68 years old for women and 66 for men. Because of Aids, Africa has the lowest, registering 36 and 34 for men and women, respectively. Moses who died at the age of 80 would not qualify.

I learned that some Cotabato municipalities, because of poor hygiene interventions, have lower mortality rates. Why then that very unlikely lifespan? Lagman, et al., must be kidding.

It’s time to be realistic. Respect our elders by lowering the age based on the data about the average lifespan of Filipinos to allow our elders to enjoy and relish what is left of their remaining years. What is the use of the reward if recipients could hardly breathe and see?

***

Let’s give the credit where credit is due.

What an efficient delivery of service LTO-Bulua is giving us today. It used to be a few hours before one could complete the registration or get his license there. But now, no more. Just wait for three to five minutes and your registration could be released!

Congratulations, Director Oca Salcedo, employees and staff for the efficient service.

There was a time when you can process you loan at Pag-ibig in less than an hour. But getting your a license or registration in just a few minutes? It’s simply amazing. Keep it up, guys!

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