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Century (wo)men to get P100K, 50% discount

/ 01:47 AM March 31, 2012

Who wants to live to the ripe old age of 100?

Who wouldn’t when you’re guaranteed a P100,000 cash reward, a tax discount and a congratulatory note from the President of the Philippines?

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These are among the perks contained in House Bill No. 834, otherwise known as “Centenarians Act of 2012,” which was unanimously approved on third and final reading by members of the House of Representatives, including its oldest member, Cebu Representative Pablo Garcia, who is 14 years shy of the mark.

The bill’s main author, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, said the Centenarians Act would further amend Republic Act No. 7432, an early law on the elderly, to provide more incentives to senior citizens and give recognition to those who reach the century mark.

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Worthy of emulation

“A major indicator of the level of a nation’s human development is life expectancy at birth. Given the level of the country’s development today, the average Filipino can expect to live to only 71 years. Living to be a centenarian, or three decades past the life expectancy is therefore an achievement and a distinction worthy of emulation and public recognition,” Lagman said.

As of the latest count in 2007, there are 7,354 Filipinos aged 100 and above in the Philippines, according to estimates from the National Statistics Office.

The latest World Population Ageing report by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division places centenarians in the world at an estimated 455,000 as of 2009, a number that is expected to increase nine-fold and climb to 4.1 million by 2050.

Self-discipline

“Currently, the great majority of centenarians (69 percent) live in the more developed regions,” the report said, noting that Japan, among the more developed nations, will see a bigger number of centenarians, from less than 76,000 in 2009 to almost 800,000 in 2050.

Living to a hundred, Lagman said, required “immense self-discipline,” noting that a person’s lifestyle more than his or her genes was the dominant factor in a person’s longevity.

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“Our centenarians deserve to be honored and respected. As Adler said, centenarians are our role models for living long and aging well. They are the role models for the future of aging,” Lagman said.

“Hopefully, if I get to reach the mark, I will donate the cash award to the government fund for centenarians,” joked Lagman, 69, who noted that lawmakers were barred from benefiting from any law they enact within a three-year term after its approval.

50% discount, no VAT

Lagman said the 100-year-olds would also get a 50-percent discount on their purchases or more than double the 20-percent markdown allocated for senior citizens. Their purchases would also be exempt from the 12-percent value-added tax.

The bill would also reserve September 25 as “National Respect for Centenarians Day” where the 100-year-olds would be given a plaque of recognition and unspecified cash incentives by their respective city or municipal governments. “[The awards] are for sterling citizens who have led exemplary long lives which every Filipino must be inspired by and aspire for,” said Lagman.

The guidelines in handing out the perks would be made by a national committee headed by the executive secretary, with the local government, social welfare and health secretaries and the executive director of the Commission of Filipinos Overseas as members.—With Karen Boncocan of INQUIRER.net and Inquirer Research

First posted 5:07 pm | Friday, March 30th, 2012

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TAGS: benefits, bill, Centenarians, House bill, Laws, Legislation, People, Philippines, senior citizens
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