Two hundred ninety five centenarians in Central Luzon have already availed of P100,000 centenarian cash gift from the national government through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Ms. Susan Hernandez of the Social Pension Unit said that as of 8 November, 295 centenarians or 86% of the 342 target for 2016 have already received their Centenarian Cash Incentive. The Province of Bulacan has the highest number with 90 beneficiaries, P9 million; Nueva Ecija with 69 beneficiaries, P6.9 million; Pampanga with 49 beneficiaries, P4.9 million; Tarlac with 45 beneficiaries, P4.5 million; Zambales and Bataan with 17 beneficiaries each, P1.7 million pesos, respectively; and Aurora with eight (8) beneficiaries, P800,000.

In addition, there are 107 senior citizens who have to comply with the requirements per guidelines of the program, Ms. Hernandez added.

The DSWD Field Office III, in coordination with the concerned local government units (LGUs), led the payout and even used the door to door scheme as mode of payment to some centenarians who could no longer travel, bedridden or in the hospital.

Section 2 of Republic Act 10868 or the “Centenarians Act of 2016” stated, all Filipinos who reach the age of one hundred years old, whether residing in the Philippines or abroad, shall be honored with a Letter of Felicitation from the President of the Philippines congratulating the celebrant for his or her longevity; and a centenarian gift in the amount of ₱100,000.

Moreover, the centenarians will receive a plaque of recognition and cash incentive from their respective city or municipal governments in appropriate ceremonies. The amount of the additional incentive shall be determined by the LGU concerned.

Under the law, the awards and incentives are given to the centenarians on the first Sunday of October, declared as the National Respect for Centenarians Day (NRCD) in line with the Elderly Filipino Week celebration.

However, considering the age of the centenarians, the DSWD will release the cash gift to the identified beneficiaries earlier.

Centenarians who died upon the effectivity of the law will be given a posthumous plaque of recognition together with the cash incentive to be received by their nearest surviving relative or family.

To avail of the cash incentive, a centenarian must present his or her birth certificate or Philippine passport for those living overseas. If said documents are not available, the centenarian may present his or her senior citizen’s identification (ID) card or any other Philippine government-issued ID showing his or her citizenship and date of birth. ### (Evelyn T. Manalo)