By Jennifer P. Rendon
Indeed, old age is a gift.
And for hundreds of centenarians all over the region, this gift of life also comes with cash.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) 6 said it has released cash gifts amounting to P40.3 million to 403 centenarians in 2023.
Each centenarian received a P100,000 cash gift and a plaque of felicitation from the Office of the President.
DSWD records indicated that most beneficiaries are in Iloilo province with 139.
Tailing behind is Negros Occidental with 74; Capiz with 61; Aklan with 39; Antique with 32; Iloilo City with 20; Bacolod City with 17; and Guimaras with 11.
“We are happy because we have brought joy to the elderly, particularly the Centenarians. We treasure them and we give so much credit to them in rearing us,” according to Atty. Carmeno Nochete, DSWD-6 regional director.
The move is relative to DSWD’s implementation of Republic Act 10868 or the “Centenarians Act of 2016.”
The law seeks to honor Filipinos, whether living in the country or abroad, who have reached the age of one hundred years old.
Apart from the P100,000 cash gifts, the law also provides that they will also get a Letter of Felicitation signed by the President from the national government thru DSWD.
Also, local government units (LGUs) are directed to give their own awards and incentives. The LGU shall determine the amount through a resolution or ordinance.
The program for centenarians is led by the Protective Services Division under the stewardship of Katherine Joy Malagad Lamprea with focal person Doyien Castillo.
Meanwhile, Nochete has assured that the agency will hasten the processing of cash gifts for the target beneficiaries for this year.
Based on the estimate, the DSWD-6 pegged this year’s beneficiaries at 135.
“This is our way of honoring the people who came before us. They have contributed to our society, be it small or big. We are grateful to them,” Nochete said.