Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on Thursday ordered a thorough documentation of senior citizens in the city to account for thousands more who are not registered with the city’s Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs.
Estrada said he wants all elderly in Manila registered with OSCA so they will be able to enjoy the wide range of benefits the city government is offering, such as free hospitalization, maintenance medicines, and cash gifts.
“It is important that they are all accounted for so we could reach out to them, and give them what they deserve,” Estrada said. “For all we know, there are many more senior citizens out there that need assistance.”
Estrada has directed OSCA officer-in-charge Jeff Manansala to set things in motion so the city government will be able to set aside additional funds if needed.
Manansala said they have started searching for undocumented senior citizens in each of the city’s 896 barangays, in close coordination with the barangay officials. Even the homeless elderly are being sought out, he said.
“Most of these senior citizens do not know how to register at the city hall, or they are having difficulty going to city hall, that’s why we are the ones going to the communities to assist them,” Manansala said.
Qualified senior citizens will be issued official OSCA and Senior Citizen identification cards they can use in their everyday transactions and in availing the services and programs of the city government, Manansala said.
Presently, there are over 132,000 senior citizens registered with OSCA, he added.
“We have to account for every senior citizen in Manila so they will know what benefits are available for them. Mayor Estrada wants them prioritized in everything the city can offer,” Manansala stressed.
With his motto “Bata’t Matanda, Alaga sa Maynila” (Young and Old, Cared for in Manila), Estrada said senior citizens occupy a special place in his heart because his mother, Doña Mary Ejercito, died on January 13, 2009 at the age of 103.
In March last year, he started a cash gift program, where senior citizens who reach the age of 100 are given P100,000. Every centenarian also receives P10,000 during the yearly celebration of the Araw ng Maynila on June 24.
Senior citizens in Manila are also entitled to free medical checkups, hospitalization, medicines and other healthcare services from the six city-run public hospitals and 59 community health centers. They also receive P500 cash gift on their birthdays.
Manila’s elderly can also watch movies for free on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays in any movie houses in the city.