Senior citizens take over Bontoc municipal gov’t in a day

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Bontoc, Mountain Province – A total of 25 senior citizens took over the management of the Bontoc municipal government on Monday, October 7, 2019, as part of the celebration of the Filipino Elderly Month.

Annie Wallang took over the seat of Mayor Franklin Odsey while Asuncion Diaz replaced Vice Mayor Eusebio Kabluyen for a day.

Sitting as Sangguniang Bayan members for a day are Leoncio Lumbag, Mary Kapawen, Elizabeth Longid, Eufemia Chakas, Myrna Cunanan, Mary Sacgaca, Josephine Masegman, Isabel Abad, Columba Farneg, Eliza Gayec, and Linda David.

Other senior citizens who took over the seats of the Department Heads for a day are Sangguniang Bayan Secretary Purita Canisi, Municipal Agriculturist Esther Fumocao, Municipal Planning and Development Officer Belinda Galo, Municipal Assessor Lydia Solomon, Municipal Health Officer Evangeline Mendoza, Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer Dominga Castaneda, Municipal Engineer Emilia Chumacog, Municipal Treasurer Victoria Peel, Local Civil Registrar Elizabeth Coria-en, Municipal Accountant Margarita Mangatam, Municipal Budget Officer Jane Awichen and Municipal Legal Officer Mary Tudlong.

Odsey welcomed all the senior citizens who were assigned to the different offices for the day and acknowledged the value and contribution of the senior citizens in nation-building which starts at home and the community.

A senior citizen himself, the mayor expressed high hopes that more male senior citizens will participate in the celebration of the Filipino Elderly Month.

In a separate interview, Odsey mentioned that the municipal government has always been supportive of all the undertakings of the senior citizens. This is the reason that the Sangguniang Bayan has passed the Senior Citizens Code in March 2019.

Among the notable support to be provided by the Bontoc municipal government to the senior citizens is the increase of yearly cash assistance of P10, 000 to each of the 16 barangays of Bontoc from the P8, 000 given in the previous years, and P20, 000 to the Municipal Federation of Senior Citizens Association. It shall be used for the programs and activities of the senior citizens.

An Office for Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) shall also be established to be headed by a senior citizen who shall be appointed by the mayor for a term of three years without reappointment but without prejudice to an extension not exceeding three months, if exigency requires. The OSCA head shall be chosen from a list of three nominees recommended by a general assembly of the senior citizens, or in the event of failure to do so, the nomination shall be done by the Municipal Federation of Senior Citizens who shall convene and select three nominees to be submitted to the chief executive for his consideration. The OSCA Head shall be entitled to an honorarium of P4, 000 per month and his office shall be allotted a yearly appropriation of P15, 000 for travelling expense purposes.

Part of the code is the establishment of the Senior Citizens Incentive and Awards Program aimed to recognize the best performing barangay senior citizen associations. Plaque or certificate and a cash incentive of P10, 000 shall be awarded to the 1st place, P7, 000 for the 2nd place and P5, 000 for the 3rd Place.

Aside from this, a death benefit assistance of P2, 000 shall be given to the nearest surviving relative who took care of the deceased senior citizen. However, it is required that the deceased senior citizen must be a resident of Bontoc and that the wake and burial must have been done within the municipality.

Further, the code adheres to the grant of 20% discount and exemption from the value-added tax, if applicable, on the sale of goods and services from all establishments, for the exclusive use and enjoyment or availment of senior citizens.

Republic Act 10868, which was crafted to honor senior citizens, also declared the first week of October as the Elderly Filipino Week.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Healthy and Productive Ageing Starts with Me”. By Alpine L. Killa

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