MAKATI CITY - Senior citizens have joined the list of individuals and entities calling on the Makati City to immediately approve this year's executive budget.
Officers and members of senior citizen councils in various barangays of the city have expressed their concern over the adverse impact of the delay on benefits and privileges extended to them by the local government.
Rogelio Villamarin, chairman of the Barangay Council of Senior Citizens (BCSC) in Brgy. Pembo, said senior citizens will surely be dismayed if their benefits were suspended because of the delay in budget approval.
“The benefits provided to us by the city are so good – from free cakes, free medicines and hospital care, even the education of the youth – all of these are unequalled and irreplaceable. Governance [of the city] has been going excellently, but now there is trouble,” Villamarin, who is also the chairman of Brgy. Pembo.
Anita Bay, Brgy. Guadalupe Viejo's BCSC head, said that elderly people throughout the city have been looking forward to enhanced benefits included by Mayor Abigail Binay's administration in the 2019 executive budget.
“We really look forward to the cash incentives and projects for seniors because they give us joy; even the small things make us so happy. We hope they won’t deprive us of that,” Bay said.
Meanwhile, BCSC chair Salvador Estorque of Brgy. Sta. Cruz stressed that many indigent senior citizens in his community expect to receive their incentives on time.
“It is not right for them to hold up the budget. The incentive means so much to us, especially in our barangay where many indigent senior citizens expect to receive the incentive,” Estorque said.
Currently, the city government provides over 80,000 senior citizens with numerous benefits such as bi-annual cash incentive between P3,000 and P5,000.
Other perks include free movies, salon and spa services, free maintenance medicines and other pharmaceutical products, free hospitalization, Lakbay Saya free fieldtrips, Pamaskong Handog gift bags, and many more.
However, a report from the city Budget Department said projects and activities for the first quarter of 2019 that cannot be implemented include the Welcome to the Tribe Party for new senior citizens.
This, as the budget proposal has been pending with the city council since its first reading on October 24, 2018 year, as members of the opposition bloc allied with former Mayor Jejomar Binay Jr. continue to defer its approval.
But the lady mayor has recently issued an ordinance certifying the approval of P18.17-billion budget as urgent.
Binay earlier called for special sessions on January 29 and 31 to deliberate on the local government's 2019 budget.
Another session may be held on February 1 in the event of no consensus.
Photo from Rappler