Twenty-four centenarians from Panay island and the island province of Guimaras each received a centenarian gift of PHP100,000 during the National Respect for Centenarians Day at MO2 Westown Hotel in this city’s Mandurriao district.
President Rodrigo Duterte congratulated the centenarians for their longevity through a letter of felicitation.
One centenarian from Aklan; four from Capiz province; one from Guimaras; 16 from Iloilo province; and two from Iloilo City received the award.
Ma. Evelyn Macapobre, regional director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Field Office 6 (DSWD 6), encouraged families and participants in the program to honor and appreciate the living elderly in their respective households.
“Whether we like it or not, they are nearing the finish line. Let us give them the good memories that they will treasure,” she said in her speech.
Macapobre also encouraged family members to let the centenarians decide how to spend their PHP100,000 cash gift.
“Let our centenarians decide where to use the money for. Maybe in the past, they have been receiving such amount but the pension they are receiving is not this much. This is once in a lifetime, let them be happy with it,” she said in a follow-up interview.
Macapobre said the DSWD-6, though its local social workers, and the Regional Coordinating and Monitoring Board want to make sure that the monetary award given to the centenarians will be put to good use.
She said centenarians are dependent on their family members and caregivers, thus they don’t have the power to defend themselves when they are being taken advantage of.
“One of our activities is to follow up, look on where the amount is going after they receive it so whatever happens, we can easily do proper action,” she said.
Rosalia Sornito, 101 years old, from Santa Barbara, Iloilo, said she is grateful that the government is looking after the elderly.
“I can now buy delicious food,” she said as she received the cash award.
She shared that eating vegetables freshly picked from farm is one of the secrets to a healthy and long life.
“We don’t have much money before so we do not do vices and do not eat unhealthy food,” she
Sornito was also grateful for the letter signed by the President and asked reporters to read them again for her. (PNA)