GOOD to hear that the Davao city government is increasing (?) its benefits for the elderly.
But wait, increasing benefits like the amount city seniors get? Or is it simply to expand beneficiary coverage? We raise these questions because, as far as we know to date, the amount that people aged 65 and over already receive 1,500 pesos per year. And according to Second District Councilor Ralph Abella, the main proponent of the amendment, the benefits, ie the amount to be paid, are increased under the new order. How come then it is still the same – 1500.00 PPP for an entire year?
But does the amended order expand the coverage of the number of beneficiaries? Yes of course. Yes, it increases the number since, according to Abella, as soon as the order takes effect, seniors whose ages range from 60 to 64 will now be included in the list of those who will receive the financial assistance.
Unfortunately, the amount that is for a whole year is too small so that if it was a net salary of a worker, he could not even take it home when collecting. As in the case of the payment for the elderly residing in the more remote barangays of the city, we know for a fact that the government employees in charge of releasing the money for the beneficiaries are finding ways to have the payment made in a barangay that is convenient for them to travel to and from their respective branches in the city proper. Thus, there were places that were converted into clusters and the most accessible of the clustered barangays for government personnel is designated as a payment center. Yet the other barangays to be served by the payment group had hardly any passable roads. Or if there are, the roads are hardly passable by motor vehicles except the so-called simple motorbikes which normally charge very exorbitant rates due to the difficult situation of the roads, if you can even them call so.
An example is when an elderly person resides in the Taloytoy site and needs to collect their financial assistance in Barangay Paquibato or Malabog, the motorbike trip would cost around 250 pesos round trip. If the cost of lunch is to be taken into account, it is possible that some 500 pesos have already been deducted from the financial aid. And it is even likely that from the moment the senior concerned has been notified that on that date he will receive the financial assistance, the same beneficiary will suddenly have the courage to obtain some household items on credit with the release of the aid as a guarantee of payment.
In other words, the beneficiary now has a second thought to go home immediately because he knows that his creditors are already waiting at the door of his house.
What we couldn’t fathom, however, was that Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, in the middle of her campaign, was proudly saying that she would leave Davao City to assume her position as Vice President of the Philippines without any debt. This means that all debts incurred by the city before and during the mayor’s term have already been fully settled.
Meanwhile, Cebu City, which like Davao is also one of the wealthiest cities in the Philippines and has not regrouped as a debt-free local government, has long given financial aid to its elderly. in the amount of 4,000 pesos. annually and with a Christmas bonus to that.
So how come none of the city councilors in Davao have ever thought of increasing the financial aid to an amount that can really help the elderly, especially at this time in their lives when they are facing various illnesses related to the aging process?
Yes, indeed, how come they haven’t even considered the amount of aid if the city is blessed with such enormous revenue more than enough to free it from the burden of depreciation?
Perhaps we can recommend to the next City Council to re-examine the Amended Ordinance and modify it further to at least make sense of what Councilor Abella calls “increased financial aid”.
And since the councilman didn’t seek re-election and the one replacing him is his wife Marissa, she can probably take on what might have been Ralph’s primary responsibility.