Former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga) on Thursday assured the senior citizens that the House of Representatives will adopt the Senate version on the creation of the National Commission of Senior Citizens to avoid delay in its implementation.
Speaker Arroyo gave the assurance to the more than 800 leaders and members of the different senior citizens organizations that attended the consultative meeting at the House of Representatives to discuss the recently approved House Bill 8837.
The oversight committee hearing was called upon by the House Special Committee on Senior Citizens chaired by Rep. Imelda Marcos (2nd District, Ilocos Norte) upon the request of the Speaker through the committee’s Vice Chairpersons, Reps. Milagros Aquino-Magsaysay (Party-list, Senior Citizens ) and Francisco Datol Jr. (Party-list, Senior Citizens).
The bill seeks to create the National Commission of Senior Citizens, provide for its functions, abolish the National Coordinating Council and Monitoring Board and amend for the purpose Republic Act No. 7432, as amended and appropriate funds therefor.
Both the House and the Senate have passed the bill on the senior citizens national commission on third reading.
“In order to speed up the sending of the bill to the President for his signature, on May 20 after election when we convene, the House will adopt the Senate version so that there will be no more delay, after which we will send the consolidated version which is the Senate version to the Office of the President,” she said.
Speaker Arroyo also recommended for another oversight committee hearing after May 20 to call those who will do the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) namely the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), League of Cities of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines and other stakeholders to do the first draft of the IRR.
“So that as soon the President signs the bill, they can proceed to do the official draft of the IRR,” the Speaker remarked.
Secretary Adelino Sitoy of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office asked for further clarification regarding Sections 4 which states that the commission shall be composed of a chairperson and six commissioners representing different geographical regions of the country and shall hold office in their respective regions.
“The proposal mentions six commissioners when there are 15 regions in the country. That should be clarified,” he said.
He also proposed that Sections 16 and 12 of the bill should be reconciled.
“Sec. 16 states of the effectivity of the bill and Sec. 12 speaks of the funding. The budget is already approved. This has to be clarified,” Sitoy added.
Datol said two commissioners will come from Luzon, two from Visayas and two from Mindanao and the chairman will be appointed by the President.
He said other issues concerning the bill will be taken up in the IRR.