A forum on legislations that will benefit senior citizens and a parade that promotes the importance of good health and well-being of the elderly, were among the highlights of this year’s Elderly Filipino Week celebration.
The celebration kicked off with the annual “Walk for Life”, an event that brought together approximately 1,500 senior citizens and representatives from various local and national government units at the Music Hall of SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
Facilitated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Office of the Senior Citizens (OSCA), in partnership with SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings Inc., the event was also participated by delegates from Social Security System (SSS), Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE), Department of Finance (DOF), PhilHealth, Bureau of Treasury, and other OSCA representatives from different cities across Metro Manila. Walk for Life started with a parade around the MOA complex and was followed by a short program featuring elderly groups from different municipalities.
During the event, DSWD Usec. Danilo Pamonag enjoined senior citizens in the audience to avail of the social pension by visiting the DSWD office. “As of now, P3000 is given to our senior citizens every six months, as their social pension. This is to help them with their daily expenses,” he added.
Two (2) regional offices of Philhealth in Davao and Lucena tapped the SM Malls to conduct simultaneous Walk participated in by about 600 Senior Citizens per location.
From the morning parade, hundreds of senior citizens glammed up for a night of beautiful memories and enjoy the nostalgic music at “Seniors’ Prom” held at the Skydome of SM City North Edsa. With music from Award-winning local rock band, the Rockin’ 60s, the seniors danced the night away and ended the night with the awarding of the Dance Duo and Prom King and Queen who each received a sash, a crown and SM gift certificates.
Ending the celebration was the annual “Talakayan”, a forum that informed the Filipino elderly about legislations concerning the sector. This included the discussion of various benefits that seniors can take advantage of such as the proposed amendment of the Republic Act 10868 or Centenarians Act of 2016 where senior citizens who would reach the age of 80 would be entitled to a cash incentive of 30,000, an additional 30,000 once he reaches the age of 90 and the remaining 60,000 upon turning 100 years old. Talakayan was led by NAPC, with support from DSWD, OSCA, and COSE. During the program, 3 Centenarians were given 100,000 cash each.
“SM has been participating in this initiative since 2007 as we see the value of our senior citizens and their contributions to our country. We believe that by promoting this cause, we would be able to become better stewards of socially inclusive communities,” said SM Cares Program Director on Senior Citizens, Danilo Chavez.
This annual observance falls under Proclamation No. 470 issued on September 26, 1994, which aims to increase public awareness on the different issues concerning the sector.
Apart from mall events, and to further promote social inclusion, SM, together with OSCA, offers a Community Service Program for Senior Citizens, which invites the elderly to become project participants and do weekend jobs in the mall.