Centenarians to get 100K, 50% discount
Here’s good news for Filipino centenarians.
The committee on ways and means in the House of Representatives has approved a bill that would give anyone who reaches 100 years old a cash gift of P100,000 and an increase in the senior citizens discount from 20 percent to 50 percent on the sale of goods and services.
House Bill No. 834, or the proposed “Centenarians Act of 2010” authored by Minority Leader Edcel Lagman also gives centenarians value-added tax (VAT) exemptions.
It was earlier passed by the House committee on population and family relations then was referred to the ways and means committee specifically for approval of the bill’s tax provision.
The bill states that “all centenarians shall be entitled to the grant of 50 percent discount and exemption from the VAT, if applicable, on the sale of goods and services from all establishments, for the exclusive use and enjoyment or availment of senior citizens.”
It is a further amendment to the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.”
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Rey Umali, committee vice chair, said the approval was made before the House went on one month recess last week.
During the last public hearing, Umali said Elsa Agustin, an economist of the Department of Finance (DOF), informed the committee members that there are some 8,000 Filipino centenarians based on the 2010 estimate of the National Statistics Office (NSO).
Umali urged Congress to fast track the bill’s passage so these centenarians could enjoy the proposed benefits and privileges while they are still alive.
“The approval is a gesture of recognition of our centenarians for living a healthy lifestyle and to help them in their economic condition,” Umali said.
Agustin said the DOF supports the bill but would prefer giving a P100,000 cash gift to each centenarian rather than granting VAT exemption.
“The P100,000 cash gift is a more transparent form of subsidy for centenarians. There has been a huge leak in the VAT implementation,” Agustin said.
Section 2 of the same bill provides that on his or her 100th birthday, every Filipino residing in the Philippines or abroad shall be honored with a letter of from the President of the Philippines congratulating the celebrant for his or her longevity, and a Centenarian’s Gift in the amount of P100,000 chargeable against the contingency fund.
On the other hand, Section 3 provides that as part of the annual Family Week celebration from September 19 to 28, the 25th of this month shall be declared as National Respect for Centenarians Day.
During that celebration, Filipinos who have turned 100 years old in the current fiscal year shall be awarded a plaque of recognition and a cash incentive by their respective city or municipal governments in appropriate ceremonies in addition to the recognition and P100,000 cash gift. The amount of cash incentive shall be determined by the concerned local government unit.
Lagman said the government should provide psychological and other incentives to centenarians who have led exemplary long lives which every Filipino must be inspired by and aspire for.
“Today, given the level of the country’s development, 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.
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