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A House of Representatives panel on Thursday approved several bills seeking to promote the welfare of senior citizens in the country, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

The House Special Committee on Senior Citizens, chaired by Senior Citizens Party-list Rep. Rodolfo Ordanes, passed House Bill 8424, mandating all local government units to set aside at least 1 percent of their total budget for programs, projects, and activities exclusive for senior citizens.

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In his opening remarks, Ordanes said there are about 12 million senior citizens, or 11 percent of the country’s close to 110 million population.

“While they comprise a significant part of the population and a rapidly growing dominant demography in the country, still a lot of our senior citizens languish from access to projects, programs and activities that are indispensable to their welfare due to non-appropriation of funds,” he said.

Ordanes said the measure aims to bridge the gap in needed funding for critical projects, programs, and activities for senior citizens.

For the government to better care for and attend to the special needs of the elderly, the panel also approved the national bills: HBs 3397, 5448, 6129, 6244, 6376, 6534, 9229 and 9862, which would establish nursing homes or complexes in every province, city or municipality.

Lastly, the panel thumbed up HB 9773, granting all pensioners equal rights, privileges and benefits as granted under RA 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

The bill seeks to grant the annual Christmas cash gift and the right to get an increase in pension, which are denied to pensioners under RA 7699 or the Portability Law.

Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas said the bill aims to correct the discrimination and the diminution of the pensioners’ benefits, especially since even RA 7699 expressly prohibits the latter.


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