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BONTOC, Mountain Province – Three most functional senior citizens association in this capital town were recognized by the Bontoc municipal government in celebration of the Elderly Week every October 1-7 of every year.
Barangay Tocucan emerged as the champion in the Search for Most Functional Senior Citizens Association with a prize of P10, 000. Caneo Barangay Senior Citizens Association came in 2nd place with an incentive of P7, 000 while Caluttit Barangay Senior Citizens Association landed in 3rd place and received P5, 000.
The winners received their incentives from Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey, Municipal Mayor for a Day Viola Okko and Office for Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) Head Ruby Mangagley during the Senior Citizens’ Day celebration on October 4, 2021, at the Bontoc Municipal Capitol grounds.
According to Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer Araceli Shane Bayanos, part of the Senior Citizens Code of Bontoc, Mountain Province is the Senior Citizens Incentive and Awards Program to recognize the best performing barangay senior citizen associations by granting them incentives and awards.
She said that for this year, seven barangay senior citizen associations have submitted their entries. The criteria in the selection of winners include projects and programs undertaken for the welfare and benefit of the members and the community; interaction and involvement with the LGU, national government agencies, private sectors and other stakeholders; clear and established policies in the government and management of the organization; and other criteria approved or deemed necessary by the committee.
The Committee in charge in the implementation of the program are the MSWD Officer; the OSCA Head; Municipal Senior Citizens Federation President; Sangguniang Bayan Committee Chairperson on Social Services or its equivalent; and zone representatives from ALBAGO (Alab Proper, Alab Oriente, Balili and Gonogon), Upland (Dalican, Guina-ang, Mainit and Maligcong), Riverside (Bayyo, Talubin, Caneo and Tocucan), and Central barangays (Bontoc Ili, Caluttit, Poblacion and Samoki).
Bayanos added that the programs aim to encourage the elderly to plan and carryout activities for self-enhancement and community development; assist the elderly in availing of the benefits they are entitled to from government and non-government agencies, and other entities; recognize the efforts and participation of the senior citizen sector of the municipality.
With this, Bayanos expressed her happiness for the active participation of the barangay senior citizen associations in the search and hopes for full participation next year.
Meanwhile, it was stated in the Senior Citizens Code that any barangay unit which wins the first place for three consecutive times shall be disqualified to compete again in the same category for the next succeeding year. However, the said barangay unit shall be elevated to the “hall of fame” achievement with a corresponding Certificate of Recognition.
It can be recalled that during the celebration of the Elderly Week on October 1, 2018, senior citizens who took over the seats of the capital town’s Sangguniang Bayan for a day proposed two ordinances and three resolutions catering to the welfare of the elderly sector. Atty. Florence Taguiba took over the seat of Vice Mayor Eusebio Kabluyen for a day and was joined by senior citizens Leoncio Lumbag, Frumentio Pala-os, Jose Fang-asan, Betty Jane Dizon, Eufemia Chakas, Cyril Bacala, Sr., Norbertina Ramirez, Mary Sacgaca, Lilian Focasan, Caroline Castaneda and Linda Tangilag who took the place of the Sangguniang Bayan members.
In response to this, the Sangguniang Bayan came up with the Senior Citizens Code to encapsulate the ordinances and resolutions proposed and submitted by the SCOFAD.
The Senior Citizens Code was sponsored by Viola Okko who chairs the Committee on Women, Children, Family, Social Services and Civil Organization, and co-sponsored by SB member Alsannyster Patingan who chairs the Committee on Laws in 2019. Mayor Odsey approved the ordinance recognizing that it is the government’s mandate to protect and promote the welfare of the senior citizens. By Alpine L. Killa