By Rjay Zuriaga Castor
The local government of Pototan has been awarded the Most Senior Citizen-Friendly Municipality in the province of Iloilo for 2023, receiving a P50,000 cash prize on November 13, 2023.
The senior citizens in the town of Pototan are not only cared for but also considered valuable members of society, earning the town recognition as the Most Senior Citizen-Friendly Municipality in the province of Iloilo.
Ann Rapunzel Ganzon, Division Chief for Technical Assistance of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), said that Pototan has programs and projects for the elderly that are worthy of emulation.
“They have a senior citizen center — which not all towns have — where they have their initiatives. They have their livelihood for senior citizens. Aside from the social pension the elderly people are getting from the government, they also have their own social pension in their locality,” Ganzon said in an interview on Monday.
She added that the community participation of the senior citizens in the town is significantly high.
Pototan received P50,000, while Concepcion received P30,000 as the first runner-up, and Leganes received P20,000 as the second runner-up.
The other finalists for the competition are the towns of Dingle, Lambunao, Janiuay, and Zarraga.
The winners were judged based on the criteria of community participation, health and social services, protection measures, institution building, and the provision of a work and financial plan in the LGU’s programs and projects for the elderly.
An onsite validation of the seven finalists was conducted in October, with representatives from the PSWDO, the Provincial Health Office, and regional offices of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Interior and Local Government serving as onsite validators.
Ganzon reminded other local government units (LGUs) intending to join the competition next year to be meticulous in the documentation process of their programs and initiatives for the elderly, as the contest is “evidence-based.”
She hopes that the recognition would inspire other LGUS to replicate the programs of other towns and prioritize the well-being of the senior citizens.
“It inspired other municipalities to recognize that the sectors in their communities can contribute. In general, it is very inspiring because with their age, they already left us with a remarkable legacy but at their age they don’t stop helping and contributing for the improvement of Iloilo,” she added.
Provincial Administrator Raul Banias highlighted that the programs of the LGU not only enhance the quality of life for the elderly population but also serve as an example for others to follow.
“By acknowledging and celebrating the achievements of these municipalities, we encourage others to strive for excellence in their own senior citizen initiatives,” he added.
Banias noted that the province has a population of approximately 240,000 individuals aged 60 years and above, and “this demographic represents a significant portion of our society, and it is our duty to ensure that they are provided with the care, support, and recognition they deserve.”
He emphasized that the province has made significant strides in catering to the needs of our senior citizens such as the elderly focus on preventive care, ensuring regular check-ups, and early detection of health issues.
“We have allocated funds to support the provision of medicines for non-communicable diseases, recognizing the financial burden that these conditions may impose on our senior citizens,” he added.