Seniors up in arms in Makati

Easier system While Makati Mayor Abby Binay (right) personally delivers P100,000 to each “Makatizen” centenarian, other senior citizens do not want to line up for their yearly cash gifts. FILE PHOTO

What is happening now is they make us line up for our cash incentives

Several chapter leaders of the Barangay Council of Senior Citizens (BCSC) yesterday criticized the city government of Makati over policies that allegedly make it difficult for seniors to get their benefits.

BCSC leaders Matea Benavidez (San Antonio chapter), Gaudelia Walde (Tejeros) and Carmen Hachero (Carmona) were one in saying that past administrations in Makati did better in taking care of their silver haired citizens.

Hachero and Walde scored what they claimed to be the unreasonable policy of the city government to require seniors to personally get their benefits or go through the lengthy process of having relatives get the benefits for them.

The Daily Tribune contacted Mayor Abby Binay on the issues raised by BCSC, which claimed to represent 80,000 seniors, but we did not get a response at press time.

Senior citizens who are bona fide residents of Makati City get cash gifts in two equal instalments every June and December.

The gifts vary according to age groups — P3,000 for those aged 60 to 69 years old; P4,000 for 70 to 79 years old, and P5,000 for those aged 80 and above. Last June, the first age group received P1,500, the second group P2,000 and the third group P2,500.

Binay’s administration has allocated P330.1 million for the cash gift and the centenarian incentive under its Blu Card Program. Seniors who reach the age of 100 receive P100,000 each as centenarian incentive.

Seniors in Makati also get free entry to any cinema in the city any day, any time.

“It’s so problematic,” Walde said, referring to the system of distributing cash gifts to seniors.

“They’re making it more difficult for seniors to claim their benefits.”

Binay’s administration has allocated P330.1 million for the cash gift and the centenarian incentive.

“The incentive should be personally claimed, they said. The only ones exempted are those who are bedridden and those with disabilities, or those confined in a hospital),” she added.

Walde lamented that older Makati residents have had difficulty personally getting their cash gifts because of their mobility problems due to their advanced age.

She also slammed the system of seniors authorizing others to get the benefits for them as “difficult” as they have to accomplish a form and have it signed by the BCSC chair or the barangay chairman where the Blu cardholder lives.

After securing the required signatures, the form must then be returned to city hall for approval before the senior’s representative can claim the cash incentive on behalf of the Blu cardholder, Walde explained.

If the Blu Cardholder is confined in a hospital, a medical certificate signed by the attending physician indicating the current hospital confinement of the senior should be attached to the authorization form, she added.

“The rules are so unreasonable,” Hachero said. “The old system was more orderly and easy (for us seniors).”

“What is happening now is they make seniors line up for their cash incentives and letting them line up for hours for a Makatizen card,” Hachero said.

“Now we are given a hard time when borrowing a bus, borrowing a basketball court for activities of seniors. It is really discouraging,” she lamented.

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