BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance mandating all government institutions and offices and barangays to give priority to the activities of senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) on the use of government managed multi-purpose halls, covered courts and places of meetings.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that the measure is intended to recognize the rights of senior citizens and PWDs and make it a concern of the family, community and the government, to give full support to the improvement and well-being of the elderly and PWDs and their full participation in society considering that they are integral parts of Philippine society and encourage the communities they live with and the future generations to reaffirm the valued Filipino tradition of caring for the elderly and PWDs.
The local legislative measure shall be applicable to all government a facilities such as multi-purpose halls, covered courts or spaces that shall serve as converging place of senior citizens and PWDs for their physical, moral or social well-being free of charge.
Under the proposed ordinance, all barangays or government institutions or offices operating or managing government facilities such as covered courts, multi-purpose halls and places of meetings in the city shall reserve he use of the said facilities for the benefit of senior citizens and PWDs and that no reservations from any other groups or individuals shall be accommodated without first obtaining clearance from the Office of the Social Welfare and Development Officer in cases of city managed government facilities the duly organized organization of senior citizens in the case of barangays.
However, the ordinance shall not apply in cases where the said government facilities would be used as temporary evacuation sites, establishment of barangay market place, places of worship or venue for fiestas or government sponsored events or activities.
The City Social Welfare and Development Office and the different barangays in the city will be directed to ensure the successful implementation of the ordinance.
Yangot added various organized senior citizens associations and PWD groups hold their activities and they usually prefer utilizing government-owned or managed facilities such as multi-purpose halls, covered courts in the conduct of such activities considering the privilege or discounts they can avail of.
Unfortunately, he explained there are instances when they are denied opportunity to utilize the said facilities because the area had already been reserved for other activities of other interested groups and organizations.
Yangot underscored there is a need to fully maximize the rights and privileges of the senior citizens and persons with disabilities so they may fully enjoy the remaining twilight years of their lives, hence, the filing of the proposed ordinance to address their major concerns.
Article XIII Section 11 of the Constitution provides that the State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to help development which shall endeavour to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost and that there shall be priority for the needs of the under privileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women and children.
By Dexter A. See